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Reading: Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus ‘miracle cure’

From Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus ‘miracle cure’

Julia Carrie Wong in The Guardian traces the movement of the promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a cure/treatment covid-19, and by whom, and for what: to attempt to hold on to legitimacy.

Aaron Shakow, a research associate at Harvard Medical School and historian of medicine, the chief physician of the emperor Nero circulated a recipe for an old miracle cure.

“It was an attempt by Nero to sustain his legitimacy in the midst of this catastrophic event,” Shakow said. “Epidemics are dangerous to rulers.”

Trump’s admin – along with Fox – is setting guesses against expertise; they want a miracle cure that will demonstrate that their power is legitimate. Trump: “But we don’t have time to go and say, ‘Gee, let’s take a couple of years and test it out, and let’s go and test with the test tubes and the laboratories.’” More to the measure: the admin doesn’t have the knowledge or skill to manage a cure.

Instead, Trump helps create a meme to fight a pandemic virus. Fox helps, anti-vaxxers and the right jumps in, and

An 85-year-old medication was well on its way to becoming a Covid-19 meme.

A meme is not a cure.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, has repeatedly warned that there is no conclusive evidence to support using the drug. Asked whether it should be considered a treatment for Covid-19, he said on 24 March: “The answer is no.”

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Reading: When Will Coronavirus Crisis and Stay-at-Home Orders End?

From When Will Coronavirus Crisis and Stay-at-Home Orders End?

Boris is in intensive care and we’re still seeing willing ignorance.

Neither Jared Kushner nor Donald Trump seem to understand what it means for the federal government to act as a backstop, or what the purposes of a federal medical-supply stockpile could be (given the comparatively tiny size of that government), and how few medical supplies could ever be required by its workforce.

“The notion of the federal stockpile was, it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said Thursday. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpile, which they can then use.”

The more troubling interpretation of that statement is that it isn’t ignorant but strategic and sadistic. The continued messaging from the White House is that at every stage of this pandemic, states and governors will be left to do their own work rather than rely on federal support and — critically — guidance.

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Reading: US edits National Stockpile website after Kushner claims it’s not for states

From US edits National Stockpile website after Kushner claims it’s not for states

Ars Technica reports on business as usual:

The Trump administration changed the Strategic National Stockpile website’s description of the program yesterday after White House adviser Jared Kushner falsely claimed that the medical-supply stockpile is not meant to be used to help states. The description was changed to minimize the stockpile’s role in helping states through crises like the current pandemic, but other portions of the official website still make it clear that Kushner was wrong.

I doubt that the website declares the actual policy – that would be in official government docs – so the change in the site is an attempt at covering Kushner’s tracks. But it’s not the action of responsible leaders.

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Reading: What’s the Function of Criticism? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #36 with Critic Noah Berlatsky

From What’s the Function of Criticism? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #36 with Critic Noah Berlatsky

A little refresher course in lit crit 101. Well chosen articles that lead us back to Richards, Sontag, even Pound and Eliot.

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Reading: An unreal city: lockdown in London

From An unreal city: lockdown in London

A warm, churchy kind of voice.

In the supermarket on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton, south London a middle-aged cashier is keeping order as furtive human shapes grab things from the shelves. The entrance is full of street people, drinkers, people with nowhere else to go. An unsteady-looking man in a long overcoat has already chased the security guard to the back of the shop. “Don’t be upset, darling,” the cashier says in a warm, churchy kind of voice. “Now you’re going to have to stand back. Yes, back. Thank you, darling.”

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Reading: Trump signals growing weariness with coronavirus social distancing as he grows concerned about the economy – The Washington Post

From Trump signals growing weariness with coronavirus social distancing as he grows concerned about the economy – The Washington Post

A fool by any measure. Let ‘em eat cake.

President Trump on Monday said he is considering scaling back steps to constrain the spread of the coronavirus in the next week or two due to concerns that the impact on the economy has become too severe.

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Reading: Short-term thinking plagues Trump’s coronavirus response

From Short-term thinking plagues Trump’s coronavirus response

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Reading: The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming | WIRED

From The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming | WIRED

Steven Levy interviews Larry Brilliant.

By slowing it down or flattening it, we’re not going to decrease the total number of cases, we’re going to postpone many cases, until we get a vaccine—which we will, because there’s nothing in the virology that makes me frightened that we won’t get a vaccine in 12 to 18 months. Eventually, we will get to the epidemiologist gold ring. … That means, A, a large enough quantity of us have caught the disease and become immune. And B, we have a vaccine. The combination of A plus B is enough to create herd immunity, which is around 70 or 80 percent.

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Reading: Don’t Let Trump Off the Hook on the Coronavirus

From Don’t Let Trump Off the Hook on the Coronavirus

Bouie responds to Trump’s accountability remarks.

The public needs to know that the Republican Party is culpable for the present crisis, just as it was culpable for the Great Recession, even if it did not originate either. It needs to know that in the face of a deadly pandemic, some Republican lawmakers appear to have looked to profit rather than to prepare. It needs to understand that the deadly incompetence of Republican governance is a feature, not a bug.

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Reading: Editors’ Choice: COVID-19 Roundup

From Editors’ Choice: COVID-19 Roundup

A superb set of reviewed links by the editors of Digital Humanities Now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a range of reflections and resources related to digital humanities, especially on digital pedagogy, labor, data visualization, and online collections.