Can all of us agree that Jen Psaki can by no means go away?
Let White Home press secretary Jen Psaki clarify the precedence of the COVID-19 disaster to the presidency of Joe Biden, whereas as soon as once more demonstrating that nobody has ever matched her efficiency as press secretary.
Much less about Pink states, extra about purple counties
Taking a look at an inventory of states with the very best degree of COVID-19 circumstances per inhabitants proper now provides some reliably top-of-the-charts members of the purple state crew together with Wyoming, Missouri, Alabama, and Florida. However unexpectedly, that record additionally consists of Washington state—a state that’s proper on the backside on the subject of total circumstances per capita. In truth, contemplating that Washington featured one of many first recognized clusters of circumstances and was one of many states first recognized to be the location of neighborhood unfold for COVID-19, it’s efficiency arguably makes it the most excellent state on the subject of dealing with the pandemic fastidiously and successfully.
So what’s taking place now? What’s taking place isn’t a narrative that may simply be instructed by Washington’s total numbers. You must go a minimum of one degree down.
That is what the state seems like when it comes to total circumstances, in keeping with the Washington State Division of Well being. The largest numbers are just about have been you’d count on them to be, centered round Seattle with an japanese spot for Spokane.
However right here’s how the state seems over the previous week in information tracked by the CDC.
On a per capita foundation, COVID-19 circumstances in rural Lincoln County are showing at a degree that’s six instances better than that in closely populated King County. Except for Spokane, nonetheless cooking alongside at greater than 200 circumstances per 100,000 (4 instances the state common) the toastiest spots for COVID-19 are all in rural counties. This can be a sample that repeats in state after state. At first of the epidemic inside the the USA, it was clear that the story was very different from state to state. Now that distinction is much more fine-grained as city areas in states—areas the place Democrats are concentrated—are seeing excessive ranges of vaccination, and rural areas of many states are seeing comparatively low uptake of vaccine.
All of it is a reminder that even when the USA manages to achieve the brand new 70% of the inhabitants vaccinated by July four goal, that doesn’t imply that the nation will probably be protected. It implies that COVID-19 will proceed to percolate in these low-vaccination pockets.
Assaults on Dr. Fauci nonetheless rising in quantity and ugliness
Earlier this week, a pair of FOIA requests turned up 1000’s of emails between Dr. Anthony Fauci and tons of of individuals all over the world. Many of those emails have been with colleagues inside the authorities or with well being care professionals within the U.S. and elsewhere. Others have been requests from media. Nonetheless extra have been theories forwarded to Fauci from each medical doctors and people who merely thought they’d a shiny concept. In virtually all circumstances, Fauci’s responses confirmed somebody who was working fastidiously, making an attempt to keep away from being immersed in politics, whereas offering one of the best accessible info. Most of all they present a tireless, if not indefatigable, public servant working practically across the clock to take care of the largest disaster in a technology.
So naturally, Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn, the person who has missed extra votes within the Home than every other member, instantly trundled onto Newsmax to name Dr. Fauci “lazy.”
As Politico notes, this was removed from the one such assault on the 80-year-old director. Not solely did conservative media and speaking heads shortly pull out-of-context snippets from these emails to make it appear as if Dr. Fauci was “protecting up the origins of COVID-19” or “conspiring with Chinese language officers.” And, in fact, as a result of a celebration that follows Donald Trump is at all times prepared with a rip-off and a money field, Sen. Rand Paul has launched a brand new sequence of fundraising adverts on Fb across the theme of “hearth Fauci.” As Poltico notes, Fauci is “a mild-mannered infectious illness specialist who has earned the admiration of Republican and Democratic presidents alike” and who has a status for being bluntly trustworthy.
However Republicans are nonetheless so anxious to discover a pandemic bogeyman who isn’t Donald J. Trump, they’re going at Dr. Fauci with hammer and tongs. Thus far, the Biden administration is kind of standing apart out of concern that entering into this combat will solely additional politicize a place—and a profession—that’s decidedly apolitical. However contemplating the extent of anti-science rhetoric that’s dominating the Republican place and the amount of private hatred being directed at Dr. Fauci, it’s unclear that the White Home can keep away from taking a extra direct position.
Don’t consider every little thing you examine COVID-19’s origin
On Thursday, Daily Kos lined how the story most chargeable for heating up debate across the origins of COVID-19 was written by the identical reporter who supplied a sequence of in the end false justifications for the invasion of Iraq. The purpose of that story was not “see, the lab origin concept is a pretend,” however solely that the present consideration being given this level is predominantly pushed by ranges of political gamesmanship—and flogged on by a media that may a lot relatively speculate than await the outcomes of an precise investigation.
On Thursday night, blogger Jake Eberts identified that one other of the most-cited sources driving this story was additionally greater than just a little suspect. On this case, the story appeared not within the regular media, however within the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters, which could appear to lend it vital scientific authority. Besides that this “paper,” regardless of its format, was really an editorial. And with what he calls a half-hour of sleuthing, Eberts turned up some vital details concerning the authors behind the piece.
For instance, a minimum of two authors had made media appearances calling face masks ineffective. One was a devoted anti-vaxxer who claimed that the precise origin of SARS-CoV-2 was in a lab … a North Carolina lab, the place it was the results of makes an attempt to generate a vaccine towards SARS. One of many authors is a urologist. One other a political scientist. And one used the paper to advertise a closely racist fund raiser that, amongst different issues, claimed COVID-19 was turning into much less infectious over time.
And once more, this doesn’t say a factor about whether or not or not the lab origin of COVID-19 is kind of possible. Completely it might have occurred. However it’s in no way confirmed, and the World Well being Group continues to think about it “extraordinarily unlikely.”
The individuals who really investigated and reported on this—like Dr. Dominic Dwyer, an Australia researcher who was a part of the WHO group—proceed to point they discovered “no proof to again up the lab escape concept.” Dwyer spent 4 weeks on web site in Wuhan, and whereas it’s simple to take a position from a distance that China hid info, Dwyer claims he had good entry to related information. For the time being, there doesn’t appear to be any purpose to consider that Dwyer and different members of the WHO group would have interaction in some international cover-up to guard Chinese language officers, or that they’re all dupes.
Additionally, scientists who’ve regarded straight on the genetics of SARS-COV-2 have indicated from the start that they see no sign the virus was engineered in any means. The authors of that unique paper in Nature Medicine have been headed up by a professor for the Scripps Analysis Institute, the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the College of Edinburgh, the Mailman Faculty of Public Well being of Columbia College, and the The College of Sydney. In different phrases, not rip-off artists who have been utilizing their paper to push selenium capsules and on-line fundraisers.
None of that ensures a factor. Outstanding scientists are confirmed improper day-after-day. That’s what makes science science: Its claims are testable and topic to vary on the addition of latest proof. However to this point that proof has not appeared.
And whereas it’s completely high quality to take a position (I’m responsible 100 instances a day), it’s value doing so in ways in which think about whether or not that hypothesis is needlessly serving to to additional undermine belief within the researchers and establishments concerned. Large emphasis on “needlessly.” Scientists are additionally folks, and it’s additionally simple to consider that the researchers who labored with Chinese language colleagues on web site, or corresponded with Chinese language researchers within the early days of the pandemic, may need been extra anxious about getting info on combatting the illness and fewer involved about whether or not they have been lacking one thing about its origins. If it seems that the WHO and different researchers concerned in following up on the origins of COVID-19 are improper on this level, they are going to effectively deserve—and get—an enormous metaphorical smash within the mouth.
However till I see the proof, I’m pulling my punches.
As you have been …
I wouldn’t precisely name this nostalgia, however that is the place we have been the final time the COVID-19 circumstances have been on the present degree. I made a lot of variations of this chart, however by this level it was already greater than carrying out its welcome.