US is global epicenter, the Taliban said no, and Asian Americans are under attack.
|Kyle Borland||Mar 31|
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The US is the global epicenter of COVID.
The Taliban rejected talks with the Afghan government, ending the attempt at peace.
Predictably, hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked.
However, amongst so much chaos, I saw folks publishing gratitude lists the past couple weeks and I thought it would be a great exercise. Check out my list below and let me know what’s helping you make it through our global quarantine.
Fresh air, the shining sun, and a roof to enjoy them whenever I need an escape.
A partner to live through this ordeal alongside. I FaceTimed a good friend of mine on Sunday and she mentioned how she hadn’t touched another human being in 19 days. If you can hug and kiss a loved one right now, be thankful.
Weekly Zoom chats with my family. We’ve gone from fighting about Trump to playing drinking games during his deranged press conferences. #growth
Bay Area cannabis. Regional sales spiked 150% after the stay-at-home order.
Dua Lipa’s new “Future Nostalgia” album is Pop perfection.
Fantastic Negrito’s new song, "Chocolate Samurai.” It’s dedicated to those in isolation. "Have you lost your mind yet?!"
Netflix and Plex for keeping me entertained with enough content for the gods.
This NYTimes collection of hope-fueling actions.
CHIKA’s “Industry Games” EP. She’s a Montgomery, AL native, so we stan.
Stay safe and healthy, beautiful people. And, thanks for reading.
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“Donald Trump, you are a miserable human being. You manage international relations like a New York mafia extortion artist you once were as a real estate boss.”
American Empire Things
The US now has most cases in the world. As the numbers grow, it may prove to be the greatest intelligence failure in US history. On the Today show, Dr. Deborah Birx predicted up to 200,000 deaths “if we do things almost perfectly.”
The White House extended its “Slow the Spread” guidelines until April 30 and the San Francisco Bay Area extended its regional lockdown until May 1.
A $2 trillion emergency spending bill – the CARES Act – was signed on Friday, the largest emergency aid package in US history. A fourth relief measure is to be expected, according to Speaker Pelosi. Notably, the package did not renew three expired F.B.I. surveillance tools for terrorism and espionage investigations that were created by the Patriot Act. (Visual Capitalist)
Trump enacted the Defense Production Act to force GM to create ventilators.
CDC recommended “strong” travel advisories for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut given the region’s outbreak where refrigerator trucks are being brought in to serve as overflow morgues.
The White House is beginning “the largest government-led airlift of emergency medical supplies into the US” in history. Supplies that would usually take 37-days by ship are being expedited via chartered flights on Uncle Sam’s dime.
Decarceration is key to protecting public health.
The top US general in Iraq cautioned against the Pentagon’s secret plan to “destroy” Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia group in Iraq, while Tehran is distracted by COVID.
Thoughts and prayers did not help Liberty University, I’m afraid.
US is blocking global cooperation by insisting China be “blamed” for COVID.
Instacart’s 175,000 gig workers are striking nationwide, alongside Amazon’s delivery workers in the Northeast. The Gig Workers Collective listed four demands: safety equipment, hazard pay, more benefits for those impacted by COVID, and a longer time frame for those benefits. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man who is worth $160B, is soliciting the public to pay his worker’s sick leave.
Read this: How the Pandemic Will End (The Atlantic)
If Trump stays the course, if Americans adhere to social distancing, if testing can be rolled out, and if enough masks can be produced, there is a chance that the country can still avert the worst predictions about COVID-19, and at least temporarily bring the pandemic under control. No one knows how long that will take, but it won’t be quick. “It could be anywhere from four to six weeks to up to three months,” Fauci said, “but I don’t have great confidence in that range.”
It’s likely, then, that the new coronavirus will be a lingering part of American life for at least a year, if not much longer. If the current round of social-distancing measures works, the pandemic may ebb enough for things to return to a semblance of normalcy. Offices could fill and bars could bustle. Schools could reopen and friends could reunite. But as the status quo returns, so too will the virus. This doesn’t mean that society must be on continuous lockdown until 2022. But “we need to be prepared to do multiple periods of social distancing,” says Stephen Kissler of Harvard.
But “there is also the potential for a much better world after we get through this trauma,” says Richard Danzig of the Center for a New American Security. Already, communities are finding new ways of coming together, even as they must stay apart. Attitudes to health may also change for the better. The rise of HIV and AIDS “completely changed sexual behavior among young people who were coming into sexual maturity at the height of the epidemic,” Conis says. “The use of condoms became normalized. Testing for STDs became mainstream.” Similarly, washing your hands for 20 seconds, a habit that has historically been hard to enshrine even in hospitals, “may be one of those behaviors that we become so accustomed to in the course of this outbreak that we don’t think about them,” Conis adds.
Record Unemployment (Graphic: Vox)
The St. Louis Fed president said the unemployment rate could hit 30 percent in the second quarter, equaling a loss of $2.5 trillion in wealth. As if to prove his forecast right in record time, 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment the week ending March 21 – myself included – eclipsing the record of 695,000 set during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, it’s likely the week ending March 28 will match or exceed the previous week’s total.
Beijing and Moscow are running worldwide COVID disinformation campaigns to deflect from their own handling of the crisis and blame the US.
China is suspending entry to almost all foreigners to prevent a renewed surge.
Wuhan, the site of the initial outbreak in China, is “re-opening” its economy as 75 percent of China has returned to work.
Hungary granted PM Viktor Orban nearly unlimited power to address the crisis.
India’s lockdown triggers the largest migration in South Asia since Partition in 1947. Unrelated, but India’s “namaste” is a contender to replace the handshake.
Japan announced the Tokyo Olympics will take place July 23–August 8, 2021.
Netanyahu hung onto PM power by the skin of his teeth in an emergency government deal as Gantz becomes Speaker of Israel’s parliament.
Oil prices hit a 17-year low amidst Russia and Saudi Arabia’s price war.
Putin implored G20 to drop sanctions on humanitarian grounds.
Spain’s outbreak appears to be slowing, but it just passed China in cases.
The UK’s Boris Johnson tested positive.
UN needs $2 billion to distribute to poorer nations for COVID efforts.
After seven years of combat, Africa’s Sahel is becoming France’s “forever war.”
Chinese, European and Russian companies may continue to work in Iran to help monitor its nuclear program after the Trump administration unexpectedly renewed sanction waivers.
Saudi-led coalition intercepted a missile attack on Riyadh, the nation’s capital.