David Lindsay is the author of "The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth- Century Vietnam," that covers a bloody civil war from 1770 to 1802. Find more about it at TheTaySonRebellion.com, also known as, DavidLindsayJr.com.
David Lindsay is currently writing about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction., as well as singing and performing a "folk concert" on Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.
He can be reached at daljr37(at)gmail.com.
Dr. Rabinowitz is a professor of chemistry and genomics. Dr. Bartman is a genomic researcher.
An electron microscope image of the virus that causes Covid-19.Credit…Image Point Fr – Lpn/BSIP — Universal Images Group, via Getty Images
“Li Wenliang, the doctor in China who raised early awareness of the new coronavirus, died of the virus in February at 34. His death was shocking not only because of his role in publicizing the developing epidemic but also — given that young people do not have a high risk of dying from Covid-19 — because of his age.
Is it possible that Dr. Li died because as a doctor who spent a lot of time around severely ill Covid-19 patients, he was infected with such a high dose? After all, though he was one of the first young health care workers to die after being exposed up close and frequently to the virus, he was unfortunately not the last.
The importance of viral dose is being overlooked in discussions of the coronavirus. As with any other poison, viruses are usually more dangerous in larger amounts. Small initial exposures tend to lead to mild or asymptomatic infections, while larger doses can be lethal.
From a policy perspective, we need to consider that not all exposures to the coronavirus may be the same. Stepping into an office building that once had someone with the coronavirus in it is not as dangerous as sitting next to that infected person for an hourlong train commute.”
“. . . What lies behind this female genetic superiority? It starts at the chromosomal level.
To review the typical basic chromosomal differences between the sexes: The cells of genetic females have two X chromosomes — one from their mothers, and one from their fathers — while those of genetic males have only the one X chromosome, from their mothers, and one Y chromosome.
This is crucial, because X chromosomes come in handy for vital functions like building and maintaining the human brain and the immune system. And biologists have long understood that XX chromosomes give females an advantage in some arenas: Having the use of a spare X in case the other is somehow defective is why females are less susceptible to disorders like color blindness, for instance.
But we’re only just now beginning to understand the full advantage that this extra X chromosome confers: It’s not just that women have a spare X chromosome to swap in. Rather, the more than 2,000 genes that, combined, make up two X chromosomes, are used by cells that actually interact and cooperate within a woman’s body. Each cell predominantly uses one X chromosome over the other — so if one X chromosome has genes that are better at recognizing invading viruses like Covid-19, for instance, immune cells using that X can focus on that task, while immune cells using the other X chromosome focus on, say, killing cells infected with Covid-19 instead, making the fight against the virus more efficient.
Typical males, by contrast, are forced to get by in life with just the one X chromosome. What if a male’s particular genes aren’t able to competently recognize or kill off cells infected with a coronavirus? In that case, his ability to fight the infection will be limited; his solitary X is the only one he’s got.
The bottom line is when it comes to dealing with the trauma and stressors of life — whether it’s avoiding a serious congenital malformation, a developmental disability, or fighting off an infection — females have genetic options. And genetic males don’t.”
Health care workers at a community health center in Syracuse, N.Y.Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times
“Doctors and nurses responding to the Covid-19 pandemic are the superheroes of our age, putting themselves at risk to save the lives of others.
At least 61 doctors and nurses have died from the coronavirus in Italy so far. Already, in New York City alone, two nurses have died and more than 200 health workers are reported sick at a single major hospital.
These superheroes are at risk partly because we sometimes send them into battle without adequate personal protective equipment, or P.P.E. This should be a national scandal, and now hospitals are compounding the outrage by punishing staff members who speak up or simply try to keep themselves safe.
In Bellingham, Wash., an E.R. doctor, Ming Lin, pleaded on social media for better protections for patients and the staff at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, where he had worked for 17 years.
“I do fear for my staff,” Dr. Lin warned. “Morally, I think when you see something wrong, you have to speak out.”
Dr. Lin told me that he had no regrets, but he asked supporters not to circulate petitions on his behalf for fear that such an effort would distract from managing the pandemic.
Charles Prosper, the C.E.O. of the hospital network, wouldn’t take my call, although he said in a statement that he regretted losing “such a longstanding and talented member of our medical staff.” The PeaceHealth board should recognize that its hospital has more need for an experienced E.R. doctor than for a bungling C.E.O.”
“Kim Kardashian West breezed into a steakhouse in Washington, D.C., last month, wearing a bright white outfit with a giant fabric flower on the lapel. Technically, it was a pantsuit, but tighter and more fabulous than its Beltway cousins.
Inside the restaurant, Charlie Palmer, with its plate-glass windows overlooking the dome of the United States Capitol Building, her sizable entourage roamed around an area with a dozen tables. At the center of one, preset with plates of tuna tartar and salad to share, Kardashian West took a seat with two lawyers and three women who had been released from federal prison just two weeks before. They did their best to pretend the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” camera crew wasn’t floating a boom mic above their appetizers.
At a nearby table sat goody bags from the White House, packed with MAGA hats and signed commutation papers. That morning, Kardashian West had accompanied her guests there so President Trump could meet the women whose sentences he reduced and convince him to let other people out of prison, too.
She posted about each of the three women on Twitter that day: Crystal Munoz, whom she said was sentenced to 20 years for conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana, and gave birth to her second daughter while wearing shackles. Judith Negron, who got 35 years for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, her first offense. And Tynice Hall, who spent almost 14 years in prison on drug conspiracy charges after her boyfriend used her house for his drug activities.”
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Fascinating and important article. Thank you Elizabeth A. Harris. I couldn’t believe I was paying attention to Kim Kardashian West, but she has decided to embrace one of my favorite causes, and I’ve done far less now than she has towards important sentencing reform.
My only pause was a reference to Fonda and Harry Belafonte, that sonded like a small, crass, unnecessary slight to Jane Fonda. Or did you mean her brother or father? In my humble opinion, KKW can’t yet hold a candle to the talented and service dedicated Jane Fonda. If you think I am crazy, take at a look at Jane Fonda’s academy award winning film, Coming Home, or tune in to her most recent work to fight against climate changine green house gases.
But it looks like KKW is growing in some wonderful ways.
“As of Friday, Louisiana was reporting 479 confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of the highest numbers in the country. Ten people had died. The majority of cases are in New Orleans, which now has one confirmed case for every 1,000 residents. New Orleans had held Mardi Gras celebrations just two weeks before its first patient, with more than a million revelers on its streets.
I spoke to a respiratory therapist there, whose job is to ensure that patients are breathing well. He works in a medium-sized city hospital’s intensive care unit. (We are withholding his name and employer, as he fears retaliation.) Before the virus came to New Orleans, his days were pretty relaxed, nebulizing patients with asthma, adjusting oxygen tubes that run through the nose or, in the most severe cases, setting up and managing ventilators. His patients were usually older, with chronic health conditions and bad lungs.”
“Lizzie Presser covers health, inequality, and how policy is experienced for ProPublica. She previously worked as a contributing writer for The California Sunday Magazine, where she wrote about labor, immigration, and how social policy is experienced. Her work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, and This American Life, among others. She has twice been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the Livingston Award.”
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.
President Trump at the White House on Monday.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times
“Not only will the coronavirus crisis define Donald Trump’s legacy, it will determine whether or not he is a one-term president.
David Winston, a Republican pollster, summed up the situation in an email:
The country is not looking at what is occurring through a political lens. They are focused on the threat to their health and the country’s health and how that threat is being addressed.
Because of that, Winston continued, voters will judge the Trump administration by “the effectiveness of actions taken to address that threat, and get the country moving forward again,” making the question on Election Day “who does the country believe should be given the responsibility to govern.”
Crises can provoke extreme responses. The 2008-9 recession produced both Barack Obama and the Tea Party. On a grander scale, the Great Depression produced both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler.
No one is suggesting that the country is at such a point now, but, then again, no one suggested in January of 2015 that the country was on the verge of electing Donald Trump president.
The current pandemic shows signs of reshaping the American political and social order for years to come.
A March 10-15 NBC News/Commonwealth Fund poll asked 1,006 adults “How much do you trust the President Trump to provide information about the coronavirus epidemic?” A majority, 53 percent, said they either had no trust at all (40 percent) or little trust (13 percent). 30 percent said they either completely trust (16 percent) or mostly trust (14 percent) the president.
In another danger signal for Trump, the poll asked “how confident are you that the vaccine will be available to the American public at little or no cost” if a Democrat wins or if Trump is re-elected. Nearly two thirds said they were confident a low-cost vaccine would be available with a Democrat in the White House; half said they were confident with Trump in office for another four years.
Trump’s job approval ratings have risen in recent weeks, but Gary Langer, who conducts polling for ABC News, warned that the results of an ABC/Washington Post survey released on March 27 show that there are substantial risks to the president:
Trump’s overall approval rating drops among people who are more worried about catching the coronavirus, report severe local economic impacts, say their lives have been especially disrupted or know someone who’s caught the virus. He also has lower approval in states with higher per capita infection rates.
While some of those findings reflect the higher levels of infection with coronavirus in blue states, Langer wrote, “the results suggest that as the crisis deepens, the risks to views of his performance likely rise.”
On March 26, Pew Research released results of a survey that showed significant demographic and partisan differences in responses to the question “Has someone in your household lost a job or taken a pay cut as a result of Covid-19?”
A woman wore a mask while waiting for the subway in the Bronx.Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times
“The message about face masks coming from American health officials has never been especially clear.
When the coronavirus began spreading, officials seemed to be promoting two contradictory ideas: First, masks would not help keep people safe; and second, masks were so important that they should be reserved for doctors and nurses. It reminded me of the line credited to Yogi Berra about a New York restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore — it’s too crowded.”
The truth has become clearer in recent days. Masks probably do provide some protection. They’re particularly effective at keeping somebody who already has the virus from spreading it to others, and they may also make the mask’s wearer less likely to get sick. “Coronavirus appears to mostly spread when germ-containing droplets make it into a person’s mouth, nose, or eyes,” Vox’s German Lopez explains. “If you have a physical barrier in front of your mouth and nose, that’s simply less likely to happen.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now reviewing whether to encourage Americans to wear masks. That would be a reversal and come after weeks of discouraging mask use. Many journalists, including me, previously quoted the experts who urged ordinary people not to wear masks.
The whole situation has been a fiasco.
True, public health officials were in a difficult position. Masks are indeed more important for doctors, nurses and other front line health workers than for everyone else. Health care workers are at far greater risk of being exposed not only to the virus but also to dangerous levels of it. And if they do get sick, they could spread the virus further — and would be unavailable to treat others.
So what was the right solution? Zeynep Tufekci, a University of North Carolina professor, described it well in a Times Op-Ed more than two weeks ago. “The top-down conversation around masks has become a case study in how not to communicate with the public,” she wrote. Tufekci continued:
What should the authorities have said? The full painful truth. Despite warnings from experts for decades, especially after the near miss of SARS, we still weren’t prepared for this pandemic, and we did not ramp up domestic production when we could, and now there’s a mask shortage — and that’s disastrous because our front line health care workers deserve the best protection. Besides, if they fall ill, we will all be doomed. If anything, a call for people who hoarded masks to donate some of them to their local medical workers would probably work better than telling people that they don’t need them or that they won’t manage to make them work.
Imagine that: Unvarnished truth from high government officials about coronavirus.”
Ms. Swisher covers technology and is a contributing opinion writer.
A protest at Fox News headquarters in Manhattan last year.Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images
“You can relax, Sean Hannity, I’m not going to sue you.
Some people are suggesting that there might be grounds for legal action against the cable network that you pretty much rule — Fox News — because you and your colleagues dished out dangerous misinformation about the virus in the early days of the crisis in the United States. Some might allege that they have lost loved ones because of what was broadcast by your news organization.
But lawsuits are a bad idea. Here’s why: I believe in Fox News’s First Amendment right as a press organization, even if some of its on-air talent did not mind being egregiously bad at their jobs when it came to giving out accurate health data.
And, more to the point, when all is said and done, my Mom will listen to her children over Fox News. One of us — my brother — is an actual doctor and knows what he is talking about. And the other is a persistent annoyance — that would be me.
I’m a huge pest, in fact. “I’m going to block your number, if you don’t stop,” my mother said to me over the phone several weeks ago from Florida, after I had texted her the umpteenth chart about the spread of coronavirus across the country. All of these graphs had scary lines that went up and to the right. And all of them flashed big honking red lights: Go home and stay there until all clear.
She ignored my texts, so I had switched to calling her to make sure she had accurate information in those critical weeks at the end of February and the beginning of March. She is in the over-80 group that is most at risk of dying from infection. I worry a lot.
But she was not concerned — and it was clear why. Her primary source of news is Fox. In those days she was telling me that the Covid-19 threat was overblown by the mainstream news media (note, her daughter is in the media). She told me that it wasn’t going to be that big a deal. She told me that it was just like the flu.
And, she added, it was more likely that the Democrats were using the virus to score political points. And, did I know, by the way, that Joe Biden was addled?”
David Lindsay: Excellent piece, thank you Kara Swisher. Here are a few of many good comments I recommended:
@The Owl Wrong. A visit to any red state will quickly demonstrate that Fox/GOP/Russian talking points are the community discourse. Of course, it’s not just Fox, it’s the entire right-wing propaganda apparatus that parrots the same party line. Dissension is met with anger and, as your post demonstrate, derision. That’s one of the many geniuses of the far-right Fox rhetoric: it not only teaches a single-minded message, but also trains its viewers to become angry and dismissive when presented with opposing points of view. In that way they remain prisoners to the GOP agenda, and are convinced to vote and act against their own self-interest.
In Reply to Phyliss Dalmatian
Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, abolished by President Regan in the 80’s, a federal policy requiring television and radio broadcasters to present contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance. That would be the death knell of Fox News and all the Limbaugh ‘conservative’ talk radio and hopefully lead to a more informed public.