A glimmer

A glimmer

Entitlements? I got yer entitlement right here, pal.

World War II lasted six years. Americans from coast to coast planted victory gardens; turned bacon grease into bombs; recycled paper, metal, and rubber; and sent mothers to work in defense factories. Six years. Half a million Americans dead. A lot of our flag-waviest Americans today can’t last six weeks, much less pull together.

Stay-at-home order protesters outside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday.
Joshua A. Bickel of the Columbus Dispatch discusses his photo at Slate.

Outside a feed store in rural Maryland on Wednesday, things got testy:

“Sir, you can’t enter the store without a mask,” a worker stationed outside the entrance said to an older man forging ahead past the fruit sapling and tomato plant display with nothing to hide the scowl on his face. “Sir.”

The man jutted his chin out and pulled his shoulders back.

“This is America,” he spat. “You can’t tell me what I gotta wear.”

A second, larger store employee joined the first guy, silently, and the huffing boomer swatted at the air and returned to his truck.

Yes, this is America, sir.

There were more expressions of discontent, of course, and more organized. The second wave of COVID-19 illness hasn’t hit yet, but the second generation of T-party protests arrived this week. In OhioNorth Carolina, and Michigan protesters arrived to demonstrate against stay-at-home orders imposed to contain the spread of a virus that has killed over 30,000 Americans since the end of February. More protests are planned.

A new (or renewed) culture war has erupted pitting rural America against cities more affected by the pandemic. (That situation is temporary.) Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) drew fire this week as much for her stay-at-home order as for rumors she is in contention for the vice president slot on the Democrats’ 2020 presidential ticket.

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“You can temporarily take away my speedboat, but you can never take away my freedom,” the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel snarks:

“I feel that most of America feels the way that we do right now,” said Garrett Soldano, the founder of the Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine Facebook group, on a Wednesday live stream for its 350,000 members. “Keeping healthy people at home is tyranny.” (According to polling, the vast majority of Americans remain nervous about reopening businesses if there is a threat of spreading infection.)

Resistance to the stay-at-home orders has grown fastest in Michigan, for two reasons: Whitmer has issued especially strict limits on movement and commerce, and she is increasingly being discussed as a running mate for Joe Biden. One week ago, the governor restricted in-person shopping at outdoor supply stores, the use of motorboats for recreation, and most recreational travel inside the state. The state had absorbed some of the highest infection numbers and the highest job-loss numbers; all of a sudden, it had the toughest regulations on how residents could behave.

T-party irregulars might want to use their time at home to broaden their news horizons.

The BBC reports that three months after reporting its first COVID-19 case, Japan is only testing “a tiny percentage” of its citizens, unlike South Korea. And while aggressive contact tracing and isolation worked at first, a second wave of infections is sweeping Japan. The country just declared a nationwide state of emergency until May 6.

Unlike its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden refused to issue lock-down orders. Citing Agence Frances-Press reports, the New York Post reports Sweden’s “softer” approach was a mistake:

Sweden’s controversial decision to refuse coronavirus lockdown measures is taking its toll — with the number of deaths up to 17 times higher than its Nordic neighbors, according to reports.

Fatalities in the Scandinavian nation topped 1,300 on Thursday — far worse than Denmark, Norway and Finland, which all implemented containment measures, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

By comparison, Denmark has reported 321 COVID-19 deaths, Norway has reported 150 deaths and Finland has reported just 75, the data shows.

Lack of a coherent national response from the White House means, like Japan, the United States is still woefully lacking in testing. Labs may have the capacity, but coordination of production and distribution of tests, supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) remains incoherent. The acting president is flying blind, by gut instinct, as usual.

A glimmer

It is way too early to say anything for sure, but preliminary results from a clinical trial of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir are promising. A video discussion of preliminary findings was leaked to the medical news site STAT:

The University of Chicago Medicine recruited 125 people with Covid-19 into Gilead’s two Phase 3 clinical trials. Of those people, 113 had severe disease. All the patients have been treated with daily infusions of remdesivir.

“The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great. We’ve only had two patients perish,” said Kathleen Mullane, the University of Chicago infectious disease specialist overseeing the remdesivir studies for the hospital.

If proved safe and effective, the drug could become the first treatment approved for treating the disease. But the Chicago patients were all volunteers who knew they were receiving remdesivir. There was no control group. So stay tuned. Mullane would make no further comment until official results of the trial are ready for release sometime this month.

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For The Win, 3rd Edition is ready for download. Request a copy of my free countywide GOTV mechanics guide at ForTheWin.us. This is what winning looks like.
Note: The pandemic will upend standard field tactics in 2020. If enough promising “improvisations” come my way by June, perhaps I can issue a COVID-19 supplement.

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