I felt badly for the astronauts whose liftoff was scrubbed today due to weather. Here’s hoping for a successful launch on Saturday!
• A good opinion piece by Hacker and Pierson in the Times re. the truly confounding notion that Republicans still have a chance in national elections despite the relative unpopularity of their policy choices: Republicans Think They Can Get Away With It. They Might Be Right.
• The Lancet has concluded that President Trump’s administration has had an “inconsistent and incoherent national response” to the pandemic, and accused the administration of relegating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to a “nominal” role.Their editorial concluded that Trump should be replaced in November. “Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics,” said the journal, which was founded in Britain in 1823.
• In Shira Ovide’s excellent On Tech essay of the same name in the NYT, Let’s Clean Up a Toxic Internet disparages the junk being thrown out there (e.g. the crafted misinformation of Pl**dem*c) by dubious actors who often stand to gain despite the secondary injury to the public. This carefully knitted crap, all designed to appeal to people’s paranoia and fears, is an insidious affront to science (and sometimes to democracy itself) and should be condemned. Ovide hopes that the larger social media purveyors will increasingly work together to identify and block this stuff and that we’ll all get better both at recognizing it and understanding how it is promulgated. Let’s work to promote truth over fiction.
• From Timothy Egan’s excellent piece of the same name in the NYT, (Highly Recommended), a telling quote:
“The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful,” wrote Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times. And he asked: “Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode?”
• For anyone interested, the data scientist Guyang Yu ( Twitter | LinkedIn ) has created a remarkably accurate adaptive model of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view projections by country or state-by-state. It’s based on the SEIR/SEIS model using the daily death total provided by Johns Hopkins’ CSSE to simulate the COVID-19 epidemic in each region. The parameters/inputs of this simulator are then incorporated using machine learning techniques that attempt to minimize the error between the projected outputs and the actual results. It’s one of the models the CDC now uses, and a terrific solo effort worth following.
• An exploration of why the Canadian response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is considerably better than the one in the US. HINT – it has something to do with leadership and a functioning national government: Canada succeeded on coronavirus where America failed. Why?
A shout out to MGH’s FLARE (“Fast Literature Assessment Review Email”), a daily MailChimp Newsletter reviewing SARS-CoV-2 and COVID 19 issues that’s put together by MGH’s Pulmonary & Critical Care Divisions and Dept. of Medicine. They do an excellent job of putting together a succinct, referenced review of salient topics. Details and recent issues located here and you can subscribe here.
From a very good opinion piece by Barry Berke in the NY Times; he makes some excellent comparisons between Trumpian behavior before and after impeachment, including making the point that Trump dealt with governors seeking COVID-19 aid the same way he dealt with the Ukranian Prime Minister. Quid Pro Quo indeed. Impeachment Taught Trump All the Wrong Lessons