Into The Ark
March 20, 2020
“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.” ― Ursula K. LeGuin
Don’t Wake Me, I Plan on Sleeping (& Staying) In
China has confirmed that on Wednesday they had no new domestic cases of Covid-19. While that is a major milestone in the prevention of further spreading, China and other Asian nations have seen dozens of new cases resulting from residents returning from abroad. China has seen 34 new cases, Singapore reported 47 new cases, and South Korea has also seen a jump in new cases.
As most people are already well aware, the best way to stop the spread of the infection is to quarantine. Wuhan, the center of the epidemic which was put into a serious lockdown, has reported no new cases as of late (excluding some returning residents who have tested positive).
The Japanese region that was hit the hardest with 154 cases, Hokkaido, has thankfully lifted its state of emergency. On Wednesday, the governor of Hokkaido, Naomichi Suzuki, said, “We’ve carried out powerful measures on refraining from going out, but from now on, we will move into a stage of reducing risks of the spread of infection while maintaining social and economic activities.”
Malaysia currently has 710 people with the virus which is the worst in South East Asia. Officials claim that this was caused by a religious event in their capital, Kuala Lumpur, in February. Noor Hisham Abdullah, director general of Health Malaysia, stated on Facebook, “Failure is not an option here. If not, we may face a third wave of this virus, which would be greater than a tsunami, if we maintain a ‘so what’ attitude.”
The takeaway from all of this: stay inside if you can. It could lessen the spread and save a life.
- All Californians ordered to shelter in place as governor estimates more than 25m will get virus (Guardian)
- Virus Hits Europe Harder Than China. Is That the Price of an Open Society? (NYT, $)
- China’s coronavirus lockdown strategy: brutal but effective | World news (Guardian)
- ‘A generation has died’: Italian province struggles to bury its coronavirus dead (Guardian)
- As Italy’s Coronavirus Deaths Pass China’s, Hospitals Strain To Keep Up (NPR)
- Israeli spies source up to 100,000 coronavirus tests in covert mission (Guardian)
- Convincing Boomer Parents to Take the Coronavirus Seriously (New Yorker, $)
- Search for Coronavirus Vaccine Becomes a Global Competition (NYT, $)
- Coronavirus Can Spread From That 1st Sneeze Or Cough, European Researchers Say : Shots – Health News (NPR)
- Coronavirus Outbreak: A Cascade of Warnings, Heard but Unheeded (NYT, $)
- ‘At War With No Ammo’: Doctors Say Shortage of Protective Gear Is Dire (NYT, $)
- How the coronavirus hitches a ride around your life (The Verge)
- Coronavirus: Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads (BBC)
- “This…Invisible Sense of Danger”: Doing Journalism in the Coronavirus War, Italian Front (Vanity Fair)
- VA Secretary Wilkie: ‘We Are The Surge Force’ (NPR)
- It’s no secret that the only thing getting hit harder than our health during this pandemic is the global economy. According to numbers released by the US Labor Department, the number of initial unemployment claims rose to 281,000 last week (up from 211,000 the previous week). This is the largest week-by-week increase since the 2008 financial crisis.
- That number is expected to climb to almost record highs in the upcoming weeks. The closure of many restaurants, schools, retail stores, and a ban on large gatherings are causing the phone lines at unemployment offices to jam and their websites to crash.
- This current recession is unlike previous recessions. Since all of these places were ordered to close down immediately, we are seeing unemployment numbers sky rocket to highs that we used to see over months in just a few weeks. (NYT)
- Trump administration warns of 20 percent unemployment rate due to coronavirus (NBC News)
- ‘How did things end up like this?’ America’s newly unemployed grapple with coronavirus fallout (Reuters)
- U.S. Orders Up To A Yearlong Break On Mortgage Payments (NPR)
- “All Hell Is About to Break Loose”: Could Wall Street’s Coronavirus Tsunami Get Worse? (Vanity Fair)
Having Some Trouble Reeling This One In
- Prior to Brexit, Britain’s fishing industry was managed through a combination of free trade within the EU and carefully drawn fishing rights based on historical fishing patterns. Post-Brexit, that system is defunct, and old resentments — like competition between local fishermen and French and Dutch trawlers in British waters — are rising to the surface, and could even blow up overall trade talks.
- “I can see a ridiculous amount of political emotion being spent on something that is not economically that important,” said a former chairman of the European Parliament’s Fisheries committee. That’s because there are only 12,000 British fisherman operating 6,000 vessels and contributing less than one half of one percent of gross domestic product — less, in fact, than that contributed by Harrods, the upscale London department store.
- Regardless, fishing rights touch deeply emotional issues on both sides of the channel, and present a tough barrier for negotiators. Plus, Britain now wants to curb the number of continental trawlers in its waters, and is even scaling up its naval protection fleet in the event of possible high seas confrontations. (NYT)
We Can All Endorse This Check
- If you’re an American citizen, you’ve probably heard the current plan to send everyone checks for at least $1,000. You may also remember the two other times in recent memory where Americans were sent aid checks, the 2001 and 2008 economic downturns. Those checks were distributed based on income. If you made more money and paid more taxes, you received a more valuable check.
- So how do the proposed coronavirus aid checks differ from the previous two? While nothing is set in stone yet, the policies being proposed are much kinder to the average/poorer American.
- Some major examples are:
- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wants to give out two payments based on income and family size.
- Senator Bernie Sanders proposed $2,000 a month to every American for the duration of the crisis.
- Senator Mitt Romney proposed a one-off $1,000 check to all Americans.
- Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed $1,000 for adults and $500 for children every month for the duration of the crisis.
- Once Democrats and Republicans agree on an amount and a timeframe, they must also figure out the proper distribution method. Speaker Pelosi is onboard with distributing the cash, but is “averse to distributing it without means-testing.” (Vox)
Putting Two Of Every Unhappy Homeowner Into The Ark
- The Trump administration, via the Army Corps of Engineers, is making local officials nationwide choose between forcing people to leave their flood-prone homes, or foregoing federal money needed to combat climate change. The choice is one facing officials from the Florida Keys to the New Jersey coast, including Miami, Charleston, South Carolina and Selma, Alabama.
- The government’s authority to use eminent domain — the taking of private property, with just compensation, for public use — has long been considered too draconian a remedy for getting people out of disaster-prone areas. Elected officials are generally loathe to evict people.
- But in a sign of how serious the threat of climate change has become, some local governments have told the Corps that, if necessary, they will use eminent domain to force people to leave. Other cities haven’t decided between what they say are just two bad options.
- The government’s threat shows how quickly the discussion around climate has shifted. Even though the president still publically dismisses the scientific consensus of climate change, the proposition is apparently accepted that people must be moved out of the way of rising seas, increasingly intense rainfall and coastal storms. One expert said the political backlash will be really big, but she praised the Corps for “recognizing that the degree of action we’re taking needs to match the degree of the crisis.” (NYT)
- Real estate for the apocalypse: my journey into a survival bunker (Guardian)
- Apple finally admits Microsoft was right about tablets (The Verge)
- Coronavirus: How to exercise while staying at home (BBC)
- Lessons on human rights from the Lord’s Resistance Army (Aeon)
- How to argue with a racist: Five myths debunked (BBC)
- Entertainment in an uncertain time: Netflix to cut European traffic by 25% due to coronavirus (Reuters) & A letter from the Scribd CEO to our community (Scribd)
- The School Shooting That Austin Forgot (Texas Monthly)
- Teen models, powerful men and private dinners: when Trump hosted Look of the Year (Guardian)
- Opinion | Camus on the Coronavirus (NYT, $)
- The Storykiller and His Sentence: Rebecca Solnit on Harvey Weinstein (Lithub)
- Meehan Crist · Is it OK to have a child? · LRB 23 February 2020 (London Review of Books)
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