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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: Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus, Part II

From Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus, Part II

Thank you to Aaron Barlow for calling the online fallback. Much of what I was reading on the tech and distance ed boards took the attitude of Unfortunate But Necessary. Many posters and teachers went with Opportunity Knocks. But ask the students and a different sense comes out:

This was confirmed last Wednesday when I quizzed them about their loud negative reaction to the college’s closing. Few of the students like the online tools we use every day; none of them sees the move online in a positive light. They feel their educations are being disrupted and suspect that the replacement they are being offered is a sham.

And it is.

[…]

Most educators have a somewhat cynical view of student attitudes. We think that, like most of the rest of society, they have bought into the factory model of education, that they are in school only to get the degrees that will further their upward movement in society. We forget that many of them are actually interested in learning—even though they may appear to be sleepwalking through at least some of their courses. They want their degrees to mean something, to be more than just magical pieces of paper.

Our students, of course, are shoved into as difficult a situation by coronavirus as we are. This is no vacation for them, and they know it. They also recognize that the colleges and universities are lying to them through the very act of replacing their classes with online approximations—though they, too, know the lying may be necessary. They feel frustrated, for they do not want to delay their progress toward their degrees; they feel they have no choice but to accept what is happening. But they do not like it and some of them feel—and are—technologically unprepared for the new situation. Though almost all of them have smartphones, not everyone has a computer at home for writing papers.

The lying isn’t necessary; but the universities are not in a position to offer much more than online versions right now. That’s our fault. The unwelcome move online might reveal another crack in the papered-over system. We’ll need to repair things later. We’ll need to repair a lot of things Later.

But, Barlow suggests, we need to change teaching and learning Right Now.

If we work at it, it may prove better than anything we have done before, though it will not be categorizable and will not even be the online coursework we are trying to ram down our throats and our students’ throats.

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Reading: Contrary to Trump’s claim, Google is not building a nationwide coronavirus screening website – The Verge

From Contrary to Trump’s claim, Google is not building a nationwide coronavirus screening website – The Verge

Google is not working with the US government in building a nationwide website to help people determine whether and how to get a novel coronavirus test, despite what President Donald Trump said in the course of issuing an emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, a much smaller trial website made by another division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is going up. It will only be able to direct people to testing facilities in the Bay Area.

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Reading: After deregulatory blitz, FCC scrambles to prevent ISP abuse during pandemic

From After deregulatory blitz, FCC scrambles to prevent ISP abuse during pandemic

And on the same note of incompetence and ideological deregulation, we now risk having access to the non-existent coronavirus testing triage site.

Under pressure from the Federal Communications Commission, Internet service providers today pledged to waive late fees and keep customers connected when they miss payments due to the coronavirus pandemic. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that many ISPs signed his “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.” But while the pledge prevents disconnections and late fees, Pai was unwilling or unable to convince ISPs to waive data caps during the pandemic.

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Reading: Google contradicts Trump claims: it’s not working on a coronavirus portal

From Google contradicts Trump claims: it’s not working on a coronavirus portal

FFS. The national emergency- two big words for Trump – is Trump and his admin as much as the coronavirus.

Problems start with the fact that Google isn’t involved in this. Instead, a different Alphabet company, Verily, is working on a portal. This makes more sense, given that Verily is focused on medical-oriented computing, both in terms of analyzing data for large healthcare providers, and in terms of providing services and hardware for individual patients. And it at least has the same corporate parent as Google, which presumably explains the confusion about who’s building the software.

But the Verily statement (which was issued by Google communications) indicates that there are a number of other issues in the plans presented by the administration today.

The website is not even ready for use for a single region in one state, much less ready to become a central part of the government’s strategy of allocating the millions of tests it announced would be available in the near future.

Trump’s dog and pony show emphasis was on New! and Exciting! when it needs to be placed on accurate and prompt. Yet another coronavirus debacle.

As of this report, the administration had not not clarified what its actual plan is. Given that key figures in devising said plan were acting as if this portal were ready for use just a few hours ago, it may take them some time to develop one.

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Reading: Trump Declares National Emergency—but Also ‘I Don’t Take Responsibility’ | WIRED

From Trump Declares National Emergency—but Also ‘I Don’t Take Responsibility’ | WIRED

Just a little bookmark to remind us all down the line:

A key purpose of today’s press conference was to convince you that none of this is the administration’s fault. “I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said in response to a question about the lack of tests. “Because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time.” After weeks denying that there even was a testing shortage, this is apparently Trump’s new line: that excessive red tape, not the administration’s own fecklessness, has hampered US testing capabilities.

Yep. /waiting for Target tests/

But for a dialectic, try this. It’s not about the virus; it’s about who’s on first. https://ift.tt/2TN2B3j

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Reading: Peter Wehner: The Trump Presidency Is Over – The Atlantic

From Peter Wehner: The Trump Presidency Is Over – The Atlantic

Yes, Wehner makes an ad hominem argument, but he supports it by actions that demonstrate a problem with character. He couldn’t make the argument if Trump had acted otherwise. And Wehner places the argument in a larger social context in which character matters. This is not vituperation. It’s epideictic for a time of reflection.

Taken together, this is a massive failure in leadership that stems from a massive defect in character. Trump is such a habitual liar that he is incapable of being honest, even when being honest would serve his interests. He is so impulsive, shortsighted, and undisciplined that he is unable to plan or even think beyond the moment. He is such a divisive and polarizing figure that he long ago lost the ability to unite the nation under any circumstances and for any cause. And he is so narcissistic and unreflective that he is completely incapable of learning from his mistakes. The president’s disordered personality makes him as ill-equipped to deal with a crisis as any president has ever been. With few exceptions, what Trump has said is not just useless; it is downright injurious.

The nation is recognizing this, treating him as a bystander “as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life without clear guidance from the president,” in the words of Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times.

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Reading: Donald Trump’s scapegoating coronavirus speech shows he just doesn’t get it – CNNPolitics

From Donald Trump’s scapegoating coronavirus speech shows he just doesn’t get it – CNNPolitics

Er … how is blame helping? Just a blip in time?

The truth is that Trump’s attempt to act as though everything is totally normal and there is no need to alter our routines has failed. The only way the virus has been slowed in other countries is through real changes in daily lives — up to and including bans on any large gatherings.

Like it or not, that is how we will get through the coronavirus epidemic. Not by scapegoating other countries and patting ourselves on the back. The time for those political machinations has passed. The problem is that the President of the United States doesn’t seem to realize that.

Staying home means more time to consider what happens next.