Patterico's Pontifications

4/4/2020

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:25 am



[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item

Sweden’s liberal approach to minimize disruption to social and economic life not working out so well:

A spike in novel coronavirus infections and deaths in Stockholm has raised questions about Sweden’s decision to fight the outbreak without resorting to the lockdowns that have left much of Europe at a standstill.

Governments across Europe have closed schools and taken draconian measures to limit exposure to possible carriers with Germany for example enforcing bans on more than two people meeting in public.

Among Sweden’s Nordic neighbours, Denmark has closed its borders and shut its schools, as has Norway, while Finland has isolated its main urban region.

Yet Swedes are able to go to restaurants, get a haircut and send their children to school even as the number of confirmed cases and deaths have mounted, above all in Stockholm which accounts for more than half the fatalities.

“Locking people up at home won’t work in the longer term,” Health Agency Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. “Sooner or later people are going to go out anyway.”

Second news item

More, please:

A Brooklyn landlord announced that he will waive rent fees for all of his residents because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 30, Mario Salerno posted a notice on the front doors of all his buildings with the announcement that rent would be waived for the month of April 2020.

“Due to the recent pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 affecting all of us, please note I am waiving rent for the month for April,” the notice stated.

Salerno, 59, owns roughly 80 apartments with 200 tenants spread out across Williamsburg and Greenpoint. He said he made the decision after hearing from multiple tenants who were having trouble making ends meet because of the virus.

“For me, it was more important for people’s health and worrying about who could put food on whose table,” Salerno said. “ I say don’t worry about paying me, worry about your neighbor and worry about your family.”

Third news item

What they knew, what they worried about:

Two top administration officials last year listed the threat of a pandemic as an issue that greatly worried them, undercutting President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the coronavirus pandemic was an unforeseen problem.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council, made the comments at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019.

“Of course, the thing that people ask: ‘What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?’ Pandemic flu, of course. I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern,” Azar said, before listing off efforts to mitigate the impact of flu outbreaks

“I’ve heard about this for a long time, pandemics. You don’t want pandemics,” Trump said in response to a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta about the KFile reporting. “I don’t think he was talking about a specific pandemic, he was talking about the threat of a pandemic could happen. And it could happen. Most people thought it wouldn’t, and most people didn’t understand the severity of it.”

Azar added that the government has been working for years to prepare for a pandemic.

“We knew about SARS, we knew about MERS, which were earlier modifications of the coronavirus, none of those achieved anything like what we are seeing today,” Azar told Acosta at the briefing, “but that is why four successive presidencies, including the leadership of President Trump, there has been a great focus on pandemic preparedness.”

At the 2019 summit, Azar also said, “It’s a cardinal rule of leadership that you have to have accountability, which means picking a leader, and that’s a leadership lesson well understood by President Trump, who has a particular interest not just in our national security, but in preparedness for biodefense in particular.”

Fourth news item

Trump on mail-in voter fraud concerns, in November, in spite of having requested a vote-by-mail ballot himself:

“Do you think every state in the country should be prepared for mail-in voting?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Trump during a Friday press conference.

“No, because I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” the president responded. “And it shouldn’t be mail-in voting. It should be, you go to a booth, and you probably display yourself. You don’t send it in the mail where people pick up all sorts of bad things can happen by the time they sign that, if they sign that, if they sign that, by the time it gets and is tabulated. No. It should not be mailed-in. You should vote at the booth, and you should have voter ID.”

Fifth news item

CDC now says cover your face:

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

President Trump said he won’t be wearing one. If you haven’t already been wearing one, will you now?

Sixth news item

Texas town to fine people for not wearing a mask:

Of you are caught in the city of Laredo, Texas, without a mask covering your mouth and nose, you could be hit with a hefty fine. The City Council issued an order that requires anybody who enters a public building, office, or home other than their own to wear a mask or some form of fabric over their face. Failure to wear a mask could get you fined up to $1,000.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, council members said they had to act in part because their neighboring county is not taking the global coronavirus pandemic seriously.

The order also created a curfew for all residents. Anybody who is out during the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. can be arrested and face fines between $50 and $1,000. People who are deemed essential workers are exempt from the curfew.

The order lasts until April 30.

Seventh news item

Looks promising:

A potential coronavirus vaccine that is administered using a fingertip-sized patch with dissolvable microneedles produces antibodies that could fight the virus, a study in mice showed.

“The microneedle array is simply applied to the skin topically, pressed into place very shortly, and then taken off and thrown away,” said Dr. Louis Falo, professor and chair of dermatology at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

When tested in mice, the vaccine produced antibodies against the virus within two weeks of the microneedle prick and it uses less vaccine than a normal shot.

Have a good weekend. Stay safe, please.

–Dana


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