Thanatos Thursday Reads

The Kiss of Death statue in Poblenou Cemetery in Barcelona. This marble sculpture depicts death, as a winged skeleton, kissing a handsome young man. The sculpture is at once romantic and horrifying.

Good Morning!!

The new global reality is truly horrifying. It feels as if we are living in an apocalyptic novel but we’re not–it’s actually happening. We knew in 2016 that if Trump were elected we would likely face a disaster at some point and he would make it so much worse. We knew he was totally unfit to handle even the basic duties of chief executive, much less a real national security emergency. Hillary warned us repeatedly, but the media ignored her warnings and focused on a ridiculous email “scandal” instead of analyzing the dangers of electing Trump.

And now here we are in the midst of global pandemic with a federal government emptied of experts and filled with incompetents loyal to Trump–because blind loyalty is the only qualification he recognizes.

The U.S. death toll from Covid-19 has now passed 1,000. NBC News: Coronavirus deaths hit 1,000 in U.S. as global death toll passes 20,000.

The United States has reached a grim milestone as the number of deaths linked to coronavirus passed 1,000 in the country on Thursday, according to a count by NBC News.

Yama – Tibetan Buddhist Dharmapala that was derived from  the Hindu god of death of the same name

The number of reported deaths associated with the disease in the U.S. was at least 1,001 as of Thursday morning, according to that count, and there have been more than 68,000 reported cases. Globally, reported deaths passed 21,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The university puts the U.S. death toll even higher than the NBC News count, listing 1,050 as of around 2:30 a.m. ET.

Deaths continued to rise in New York, which has been called the epicenter of the epidemic on the U.S. There have been at least 334 deaths linked to the illness caused by the novel coronavirus as of early Thursday….

As of Wednesday evening, there had been more than 32,700 cases in the state, and more than 20,000 of those have been reported in New York City, according to the city’s health department. There have been 132 deaths in Washington state, health authorities say.

The New York Times: 13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital.

In several hours on Tuesday, Dr. Ashley Bray performed chest compressions at Elmhurst Hospital Center on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a 38-year-old who reminded the doctor of her fiancé. All had tested positive for the coronavirus and had gone into cardiac arrest. All eventually died.

Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other hospitals as it moves toward becoming dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of “Team 700,” the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed.

A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.

“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, 27, a general medicine resident at the hospital.

Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries. On Wednesday evening, New York City reported 20,011 confirmed cases and 280 deaths.

Reuters: New Orleans emerges as next coronavirus epicenter, threatening rest of South.

New Orleans is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the United States, dimming hopes that less densely populated and warmer-climate cities would escape the worst of the pandemic, and that summer months could see it wane.

The plight of New Orleans – with the world’s highest growth rate in coronavirus cases – also raises fears that the city may become a powerful catalyst in spreading the virus across the south of the country. Authorities have warned the number of cases in New Orleans could overwhelm its hospitals by April 4.

Baba Yaga, the death crone from Slavic folklore, depicted by Ivan Bilibin, 1900.

New Orleans is the biggest city in Louisiana, the state with the third-highest case load of coronavirus in the United States on a per capita basis after the major epicenters of New York and Washington.

The growth rate in Louisiana tops all others, according to a University of Louisiana at Lafayette analysis of global data, with the number of cases rising by 30% in the 24 hours before noon on Wednesday. On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a major federal disaster declaration for the state, freeing federal funds and resources.

Some 70% of Louisiana’s 1,795 confirmed cases to date are in the New Orleans metro area.

Business Insider: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warns of mass death, condemns ‘false hope,’ and tells us his city will be on lockdown for another 2 months — and to ‘be prepared for longer.’

Los Angeles residents will be confined to their homes until May at the earliest, Mayor Eric Garcetti told Insider on Wednesday.

“I think this is at least two months,” he said. “And be prepared for longer.”

In an interview with Insider, Garcetti pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business as usual are putting lives at risk.

“I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.

Batara Kala – The Javanese and Balinese god of death

“Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, adding it would change their actions by instilling a sense of normality at the most abnormal time in a generation.

“This will not kill most of us,” he said. “It will kill a lot more people than we’re used to dying around us.”

On Tuesday, Garcetti said the city was anywhere from six to 12 days away from the fate of New York City, where a surge in patients with the novel coronavirus is threatening to overwhelm the health system.

But we really can’t be sure how many people are actually dying from the virus. Buzzfeed News: Doctors And Nurses Say More People Are Dying Of COVID-19 In The US Than We Know.

Medical professionals around the US told BuzzFeed News that the official numbers of people who have died of COVID-19 are not consistent with the number of deaths they’re seeing on the front lines.

In some cases, it’s a lag in reporting, caused by delays and possible breakdowns in logging positive tests and making them public. In other, more troubling, cases, medical experts told BuzzFeed News they think it’s because people are not being tested before or after they die.

In the US, state and county authorities are responsible for collecting data on cases of COVID-19 and deaths. The data is then reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In California, one ER doctor who works at multiple hospitals in a hard-hit county told BuzzFeed News, “those medical records aren’t being audited by anyone at the state and local level currently and some people aren’t even testing those people who are dead.”

“We just don’t know. The numbers are grossly under-reported. I know for a fact that we’ve had three deaths in one county where only one is listed on the website,” the doctor said.

At his daily coronavirus hate rallies, Trump has been advocating for everyone to go back to work despite the horrific sickness and death that would cause.

The Morrigan – The Celtic death god

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who continues to be a thorn in Trump’s side, had something to say about that. The Washington Post: Fauci’s coronavirus reality check: ‘You don’t make the timeline. The virus makes the timeline.’

“You’ve got to be realistic and you’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline,” Fauci told CNN host Chris Cuomo in an interview Wednesday night. “The virus makes the timeline.”

Fauci’s reality check amid a pandemic came after President Trump and some conservative allies suggested that it may be time to end social distancing in favor of getting people back to work and restarting the economy. Trump said during a Fox News town hall this week that he would “love to have the country opened up and raring to go” by Easter — a move that would defy advice from public health experts who say current guidelines might need to remain in effect for months to prevent the outbreak from worsening.

Neither Fauci nor Cuomo mentioned Trump by name Wednesday as they talked about efforts to contain and mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus, which so far has infected at least 69,000 Americans, causing 1,046 reported deaths. Wednesday also marked the first time since the outbreak reached the United States that more than 200 coronavirus-related deaths were counted in a single day.

“The nature of this outbreak that’s so frustrating and in many respects a bit frightening and intimidating is . . . it putters along and you think you’re okay,” Fauci said. “Then it starts to go up a little and then bingo, it goes up in an exponential way.”

Trump still refuses to help struggling health care workers by using his executive powers through the DPA to order industries to produce masks, protective clothing, and ventilators; and he appears to be withholding federal support for blue states, demanding that governors genuflect to him first.

The New York Times: Amid Desperate Need for Ventilators, Calls Grow for Federal Intervention.

As hospitals prepare for a flood of desperately ill patients unable to breathe on their own, mechanical ventilators have become the single most important piece of equipment that can mean the difference between life and death.

Now, with American hospitals facing a grave shortage of the vital devices, the Big Three automakers, small engineering firms, software designers and medical equipment manufacturers are rushing to figure out ways to produce more of them. But President Trump has so far declined to use powers that public health experts say could make a real difference in getting more ventilators to places that need them the most — right now.

What is really needed, a number of public health experts and former government officials say, is for Washington to take control of the nation’s existing ventilator supply. Because peak coronavirus infections will hit cities and regions at different times in the coming months, a centralized federal effort could send unused machines to hospitals that need them most.

“This is a national crisis,” said Frank Kendall, who served as under secretary of defense for acquisition and logistics in the Obama administration. “In a time of scarcity, you can’t leave it up to companies and governors to manage it themselves.”

Mr. Kendall said that only the federal government had the authority to take over the allocation of ventilators, both from manufacturers who are in the business of selling devices to the highest bidder, and state leaders unlikely to voluntarily let go of machines they fear they might need in the future.

More reads, links only:

Foreign Policy: The Coronavirus Is the Worst Intelligence Failure in U.S. History. It’s more glaring than Pearl Harbor and 9/11—and it’s all the fault of Donald Trump’s leadership.

Ron Klain at The Washington Post: We must plan now for how to get back to business later.

Ed Yong at The Atlantic: How the Pandemic Will End: The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.

Politico: Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook. The 69-page document, finished in 2016, provided a step by step list of priorities – which were then ignored by the administration.

Heather Long at The Washington Post: The $2 trillion relief bill is massive, but it won’t prevent a recession.

The Washington Post: G-7 failed to agree on statement after U.S. insisted on calling coronavirus outbreak ‘Wuhan virus.

Dana Millbank at The Washington Post: The nation comes together — without Trump.

Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post: When the president is the problem.

Molly Jong-Fast at The Daily Beast: Don’t Worry, America, Jared Kushner Is Going to Save You From COVID-19.

 

 


31 Comments on “Thanatos Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Please stay safe Sky Dancers!

    • NW Luna says:

      You too!

      Mythology is a particular interest of mine — love the illustrations, especially the one of the Morrigan.

      • quixote says:

        Just to be a bit pedantic here, in my books of fairytales as a kid, it was Baba Yaga’s *house* that had the chicken feet. I still remember the beautiful drawing of the regular little one-room witch’s cottage, up on its feet, running through the forest.

        So he’s using a bit of artistic licence if he’s got her living on a tree trunk or whatever that is (can’t quite make it out).

        • NW Luna says:

          Oh yes, it’s the house that has the chicken feet!

          Also, the Morrigan is a female deity and often associated with the battlefields where her crows would be hanging out.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      What?

      (1st rxn.) 2nd rxn: It makes sense for them not to be all packed together in one room. If they enable teleconferencing and distance voting, it would be a good thing for them to work from their home districts.

      But I gather that’s not even on the table?

      ???

      /endless screaming etc/

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    We should never have revolted from England. This headline in the right-hand column feed:

    Coronavirus: UK offers self-employed 80% of earnings

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/coronavirus-uk-offers-self-employed-80-of-earnings

    • bostonboomer says:

      The bill may allow them to apply for unemployment. Gig workers are supposed to be able to.

  9. NW Luna says:

    This is what needs to be done on a national level. It’s too painfully obvious it’s not happening, and the states are left to do their best alone.

    Former Navy vice admiral leading Washington’s coronavirus response brings experience in medicine, military

    Dr. Raquel Bono’s first job in the military was at a field hospital in Saudi Arabia, providing urgent care for troops wounded in the Gulf War. Her last military job was in Washington, D.C., consolidating the management of hospitals and clinics previously run by the Army, Navy and Air Force.

    Starting out as a physician, she needed to display medical know-how under pressure. Later, she needed to employ political tact. Now Bono will have to do all that at once as Washington’s new coronavirus health care “czar.” Gov. Jay Inslee recently appointed the retired Navy vice admiral as director for COVID-19 Health System Response Management.

    Inslee has asked Bono to coordinate among the dozens of hospitals that public and private providers run independently in communities across Washington, and with mobile hospitals that the military has vowed to open here. The governor wants Bono to turn those facilities into a pandemic-fighting machine. She started work Monday.

  10. NW Luna says:

    He said it’s a hoax, but it’s fake news that he said it’s a hoax!

    President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is threatening legal action against local TV stations in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin if they don’t pull a Democratic anti-Trump commercial that uses clips of the president talking about the coronavirus outbreak. The campaign says the ad is false.

    Trump’s campaign said the commercial contains the “false assertion” that Trump called the coronavirus a “hoax.”

    The ad strings together audio of recent comments by Trump in which he attempts to minimize the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, including a snippet in which he says “this is their new hoax.”

  11. dakinikat says:

    • quixote says:

      Somehow, there has to be a real price to pay when people in authority lie to their followers. There are so many dimensions of awfulness to this thing.

      yes, the motivations for a lot of white evangelicals come down to racism, no matter how hard they try not to call it that.

      But racism shouldn’t carry a death sentence. Nothing should. And without lies from the top, maybe this poor idiot would have been less stupid.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    So the Democrats managed to make sure that Social Security recipients who don’t earn enough to pay taxes would get the check too. It may be necessary to file a tax return to get it, but it may not be necessary. I’ve heard both possibilities. Also, everyone will get the full $1,200, not the $600 that Republicans wanted to give poor people.

  13. palhart says:

    Trump’s afternoon presser: “We gotta get back to work, we gotta get back to work, People want to work.” Trump is spooked by the projection of the 2nd quarter economy numbers, especially with the Democratic National Convention’s July 13-16 dates. The infected and death numbers in the next 65 days, and beyond, are the governors’ responsibility, so he’s said.

    • palhart says:

      Presser (cont’d): It didn’t look like Trump and Pence were practicing the 6 feet social distancing rule.

      At Whole Foods today, the store had laid down on the floor yellow tape 6 feet from a customer being checked out and a person waiting, plus there were yellow tape markers in 6 feet intervals down the aisles.

  14. dakinikat says:

    Why do they all bother to broadcast these Dear Leader moments and then even try to ask him any questions? It’s totally disheartening and futile and serves no real purpose.