Opinion | Voting G.O.P. Means Voting Against Health Care – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Joseph Prezioso/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“If you or someone you care about are among the more than 50 million Americans suffering from pre-existing medical conditions, you should be aware that the stakes in this year’s election go beyond abstract things like, say, the survival of American democracy. They’re also personal. If Donald Trump is re-elected, you will lose the protection you’ve had since the Affordable Care Act went into effect almost seven years ago.

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made this even more obvious. In fact, it’s now possible that coverage of pre-existing conditions will be stripped away even if Trump loses to Joe Biden, unless Democrats also take the Senate and are prepared to play serious hardball. But health care was always on the line.

Now, Trump denies this; like almost every other politician in his party, he keeps insisting that he has a plan to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. But he and they are lying. And no, that’s not too strong a term.

On Trump: In early August he promised that he would soon release a great health care plan to replace Obamacare, probably by the end of the month. We’ve heard nothing since, which isn’t surprising, since he has made and broken similar promises many times.”

Opinion | A Cataclysm of Hunger, Disease and Illiteracy – by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

“We think of Covid-19 as killing primarily the elderly around the world, but in poor countries it is more cataclysmic than that.

It is killing children through malnutrition. It is leading more people to die from tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. It is forcing girls out of school and into child marriages. It is causing women to die in childbirth. It is setting back efforts to eradicate polio, fight malaria and reduce female genital mutilation. It is leading to lapses in vitamin A distribution that will cause more children to suffer blindness and die.

The U.N. Population Fund warns that Covid-19 may lead to an additional 13 million child marriages around the world and to some 47 million women being unable to get access to modern contraception.

In short, a pandemic of disease, illiteracy and extreme poverty is following on the heels of this coronavirus pandemic — and it is hitting children hardest.”

David Lindsay:   This column makes me uncomfortable in several dimensions. The following comment in the NYT covers the elephant in the room:

USA

11m ago
Times Pick

Rampant overpopulation sets the stage for poverty, malnutrition, disease spread, and societal breakdown. Mr. Kristof needs to do more than mention population control in passing. He needs to address the cultural and religious factors that prevent women and the fathers of their children from limiting the number of children they bring into the world, often with no means of providing them with food or shelter. The pandemic will eventually be brought under control. Overpopulation is a far more widespread, destructive, long-term catastrophe.

6 Replies129 Recommended

Coronavirus: How to clean your smartphone safely – Video from BBC News

While you may want to clean your smartphone, some substances can damage the device.

Dr Lena Ciric, a microbiologist from University College London, says you can effectively clean your phone using just household soap and water.

While you may want to clean your smartphone, some substances can damage the device.

Video journalist: Chris Fox

Source: Coronavirus: How to clean your smartphone safely – BBC News

Opinion | How Did the ‘Best-Prepared Country’ Become a Horror Story? – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

“What would America be like today if President Trump had acted decisively in January to tackle the coronavirus, as soon as he was briefed on the danger?

One opportunity for decisive action came Jan. 28, when his national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, told Trump that the coronavirus “will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.” Trump absorbed the warning, telling Bob Woodward days later how deadly and contagious the virus could be, according to Woodward’s new book, “Rage.”

Yet the president then misled the public by downplaying the virus, comparing it to the flu and saying that it would “go away.” He resisted masks, sidelined experts, held large rallies, denounced lockdowns and failed to get tests and protective equipment ready — and here we are, with Americans constituting 4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of Covid-19 deaths.

There’s plenty of blame to be directed as well at local officials, nursing home managers and ordinary citizens — but Trump set the national agenda.

Suppose Trump in January — or even in February — had warned the public of the dangers, had ensured that accurate tests were widely distributed (Sierra Leone had tests available before the United States) and had built up a robust system of contact tracing (Congo has better contact tracing than the United States).

Suppose he had ramped up production of masks and empowered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead the pandemic response, instead of marginalizing its experts.

Suppose he had tried as relentlessly to battle the virus as he has to build his wall?

If testing and contact tracing had been done right, then we would have known where hot spots were and large-scale lockdowns and layoffs might have been unnecessary.

The United States would still have made mistakes. We focused too much on ventilators and not enough on other things that might have been more useful, like face masks, blood thinners and high-flow nasal cannulas. Because of mask shortages, health messaging about their importance was bungled. Governors and mayors dithered, and nursing homes weren’t adequately protected.

But many of our peer countries did better than we did not because they got everything right but because they got some things right — and then learned from mistakes.

Because of Covid-19, Trump called himself a wartime president, but he didn’t heed his generals and never ordered ammunition. In World War II, a Ford plant was configured to turn out one new B-24 bomber every hour, yet today we display none of that urgency even though Americans are dying from the virus at a faster pace than they fell in World War II.”

Farmville, Va., covid outbreak linked to ICE flights bringing agents to protests – The Washington Post

September 11, 2020 at 4:07 p.m. EDT

The Trump administration flew immigrant detainees to Virginia this summer to facilitate the rapid deployment of Homeland Security tactical teams to quell protests in Washington, circumventing restrictions on the use of charter flights for employee travel, according to a current and a former U.S. official.

After the transfer, dozens of the new arrivals tested positive for the novel coronavirus, fueling an outbreak at the Farmville, Va., immigration jail that infected more than 300 inmates, one of whom died.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency moved the detainees on “ICE Air” charter flights to avoid overcrowding at detention facilities in Arizona and Florida, a precaution they said was taken because of the pandemic.

But a Department of Homeland Security official with direct knowledge of the operation, and a former ICE official who learned about it from other personnel, said the primary reason for the June 2 transfers was to skirt rules that bar ICE employees from traveling on the charter flights unless detainees are also aboard.

Source: Farmville, Va., covid outbreak linked to ICE flights bringing agents to protests – The Washington Post

Aerosols vs. Droplets: In Transmitting COVID-19, There’s a Big Difference | Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science

When COVID-19 first began to spread, health officials were initially concerned with the transmission of droplets. These larger particles from the mouths of infected people generally travel less than six feet, hence the social distancing rule of people staying six feet away from each other.But in July, 239 scientists signed a letter to the World Health Organization stating that they believe that aerosol particles – particles much smaller than droplets that can stay in the air for hours – are also responsible for the transmission of the disease. Jordan Peccia, the Thomas E. Golden, Jr. Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, was among those among those who signed the letter. In the video, Peccia details the differences between droplets and aerosols, and the ways we can protect ourselves from both.

Source: Aerosols vs. Droplets: In Transmitting COVID-19, There’s a Big Difference | Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science

Help! What Are the Best Precautions When Traveling by Car? – By Sarah Firshein – The New York Times

By 

I am 78 and my wife is 76; we’re both in good health. We are planning to drive from Chicago to Santa Monica before Thanksgiving. We are concerned about how to handle hotels, meals, bathrooms and gas stops during the pandemic. How can we stay safe? Paul

Travel is complicated right now, and tasks that seemed simple a year ago — like checking into a hotel or gassing up — suddenly feel like a huge lift. Americans are expected to take nearly 700 million trips by car this summer, and I have no doubt that many of them share some of your uncertainty.

To help answer your road trip questions, I spoke to two public health experts: Sandra Albrecht, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Sarah Fortune, the chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Fortune just finished a round-trip drive from Boston to New Orleans.

The first tip both of these experts offered? Accepting the fact that there is some risk in everything right now.

Opinion | America’s Coronavirus Reopening Choice: Schools, Bars or Disney World? – By Aaron E. Carroll – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Video

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CreditCredit…By Igor Bastidas

“My daughter argues that as long as she’s seeing all of her friends together in school, they should be able to gather together in their houses as well. Unfortunately, she has risk exactly backward. She’s not alone; lots of Americans do.

My kids, like most in Indiana, have been back at school since mid-August. Each time my 9th and 11th grader head off to high school, they spend more time among other human beings in a day than they had cumulatively all summer. Because of that, they along with many of their friends and those friends’ parents think that there’s less reason to be careful in other aspects of their lives.

But as we loosen restrictions in some areas, we should be increasing restrictions in others. If kids are going to take on more risk at school, they should find ways to be even safer outside of it. Large groupings at a friend’s house are not a good idea.

Too many view protective measures as all or nothing: Either we do everything, or we might as well do none. That’s wrong. Instead, we need to see that all our behavior adds up.”

Face mask study shows neck gaiter may be worse than no covering at all – Allyson Chiu – The Washington Post

August 11, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. EDT
PLEASE NOTE

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more, sign up for our daily Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read. To support this work, please subscribe to the Post.

As the number of novel coronavirus cases continues to rise nationwide, the recurring message from many public health experts and doctors has been simple: Wearing masks saves lives.

“We are not defenseless against covid-19,” Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in July. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.”

But as face coverings have become increasingly commonplace in American life, so have questions about efficacy — and now a group of researchers from Duke University are aiming to provide some answers.

Source: Face mask study shows neck gaiter may be worse than no covering at all – The Washington Post

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