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More testing does not mean more positive results.

When someone says more tests mean more positive results, ask them to explain New York.

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I don’t know any Conservatives, but some of my friends do, and this is the talking point I see most often from covidiots: The US has more cases because we do more testing.

That is completely false. This isn’t even a situation where there’s a kernel of truth that the Trump Administration has skewed or misrepresented. “The US does more testing” is easy to disprove — and quickly! — so here are a few resources to give those people (who won’t believe you anyway because facts mean nothing to them, but at least you can provide the information and move on).

These are the 10 most affected countries.

coronavirus

For awhile, we were comparing ourselves to Europe to show how well the EU flattened the curve while the situation in the US is spiraling out of control. Europe is done with COVID-19. None of them are in the Top 10 anymore (save for Russia) and there’s no reason to compare the United States to the best. We can now compare ourselves to the worst.

These are the countries doing the most tests (numbers are per million people).

covid testing

 

That’s it. No deep analysis of the numbers to be had. The only countries in the top ten of testing that are also in the top 10 of new cases are the US and Russia. If new cases was a result of new tests, those top 10 lists would look the same.

More Americans are testing positive than Russians.

(ourworldindata lets you play around with what countries you want to see in case you’re curious about other regions)

Because Russia and the US are the only two countries that are in the top ten for testing and new cases, I wanted to see which country had a higher percentage of positive tests. Russia is at 2.3% and the US is at 7.6%. In the only comparable head to head matchup — a country with a lot of new cases who is also doing a lot of testing — the US is losing.

usa vs russia

I think it’s important to note that back in April, our numbers were largely due to NYC, where half of the cases in the US were located. The resulting drop was also largely due to NYC — because we had so many cases, when we got the situation under control here, the trend for the entire country went down. The US (with the exception of the northeast and parts of the northwest and California) never flattened anything.

I looked at the rate of infection again with both top 20 lists — most cases and most testing — to see where the highest rates of infection are. Admittedly, the US isn’t doing as badly as I thought. However, look whose line is trending upward while the other countries performing the most tests are controlling the spread.

us vs world

The US has moved in the right direction.

Donald Trump has been saying the US does more testing than anybody for the past two months. Luxembourg has done almost four times as many test per capita (but as you may remember, there are many per capitas according to Trump). If you look at new tests recently, the US has continued an upward trend and we’re almost ahead of Russia on a daily basis. But we are nowhere near Luxembourg so Trump will never be able to factually say we do more testing than anybody.

lux

New York has a lot of tests and few cases.

I’ll leave y’all with one more graph to disprove the “more tests equals more cases” lie being drilled into the Fox News audience. This is New York, the original epicenter.

ny tests

When someone says more tests mean more positive results, ask them to explain New York.

 

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Politics

The DNC won’t add weed and healthcare to the platform.

The United States is not a democracy.

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The Democratic National Committee has been voting on the 2020 platform, and if you’ve been mystified (and upset!) about the outcome, you’re not alone. You would think that in a democracy, if the majority of people want something, our delegates and elected officials would speak on behalf of the people work to make that something come to fruition.

Unfortunately, the United States is not a democracy.

Marijuana

Marijuana is legal in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Across the country, grassroots organizations are working to decriminalize and legalize marijuana because there is no reason for it to be classified as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and bath salts. Nobody ever ate a face high on marijuana. The continued vilification of marijuana is a holdover from the racist Refer Madness days of yore where lawmakers convinced everybody that Black men would smoke weed, turn into King Kong, and steal their white women. That racism never really went away. Who gets arrested for smoking weed and who doesn’t? Who is in jail for smoking weed and who gets to open dispensaries?

Given that history, it’s not a surprise that liberal-minded people have moved toward legalizing marijuana. In 1969, support for legalization was 12%. In 1977, it was 28%. Not much changed for the next couple of decades — support for legalization didn’t pass 30% until 2000. However, between 2000 and now, support has grown to 66%. A clear majority of Americans want marijuana to be legal, and among Democrats support is at 76%.  (Even Republicans have tipped over into the majority with 51%.)

The DNC voted against adding marijuana legalization to the platform.

Democratic National Committee delegates voted 105-60 against including marijuana legalization in the party platform on Monday.

The draft version of the platform supports decriminalizing marijuana use and legalizing medical marijuana, adding that it should be left up to the states “to make their own decisions about recreational use.”

The platform was unlikely to ever endorse full legalization, since Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee, does not back the policy. He supports federal decriminalization, which would take away incarceration for possession.

But Dennis Obduskey, a delegate who introduced the legalization amendment during the meeting of the DNC’s platform committee, noted that the current document is a step back from the 2016 platform, which supported “providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”

(cont. HuffPo)

A majority of the country wants legal weed. A hefty majority of Democratic voters wants legal weed. Biden does not want legal weed and the delegates fall in line behind him.

Medicare for All

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a country where, if you got sick, you could go to the doctor without worrying about whether you’ll go bankrupt? In the middle of a deadly pandemic, wouldn’t it be great to be able to go to your local healthcare provider and ask for a coronavirus test without insurance? (We can do that here in NYC, but in many places in the US, you need insurance or you need to be an essential worker or both.)

The rest of the country thinks so too. 66% of voters support Medicare for All — that’s 46% of Republicans (because you know how they are) and a whopping 88% of Democrats. There aren’t a whole lot of things you can get 88% of a group to agree on, but clearly Americans who are voting Democrats into office want Medicare for All.

The DNC is not adding it to the platform.

Here’s my Sitting On My Beanbag Chair With No Expertise opinion. We’ve seen things like this happen before, where it seems a majority of us want one thing and our officials ignore that in favor of what’s good for them or their career. Our politicians are beholden to donors, so if we want more money for solar energy but the oil guy is paying for the campaign, we don’t get more money for solar energy. This doesn’t quite feel the same.

Instead, I feel like I’m being taken for granted, that my vote is a given, and the party and platform feels free to capitulate to the minority of loud, moderate, and reliable voters. I don’t have any insights to their actual process, so feel free to draw your own conclusions, but it looks to me that the DNC is playing the odds, and those odds are against the majority because most of us will in fact support the party even if the platform isn’t as progressive as we all want and deserve.

There’s no medicare and no weed, but I’m still going to do my best to make sure we get Democrats elected as opposed to Republicans. I’m not going to sit out, because there’s too much at stake. On the other hand, the moderates who would be upset by free healthcare and legal marijuana could in fact turn away, withdraw their support, and just sit at home. They’re not as upset at the direction of the country, so they don’t have the same fiery desire to make sure we do in fact get as many Republicans out of office as possible. Those moderates are older and they more reliably turn up to the polls. So the DNC looks at it and says, “here are these people who always vote and work for us who MIGHT NOT VOTE if we make changes, and here are these people who vote sometimes and they’ll work whether or not we make changes.”

And the only way to change those odds and that thought process is to actually show up. We go through this every couple of years and at some point it has to stick — young people, you have to vote. People who will be dead before you even throw out some of your spices are building the country you have to live in for the next 4 or 5 decades because you don’t vote. And the DNC makes undemocratic decisions like these, against the will of the majority, because the minority turns out over and over.

 

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Florida has 7% of new COVID-19 cases…on the planet.

The numbers couldn’t be any more clear.

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Short and sweet and simple.

Per the New York Times

New Coronavirus Cases in Florida on July 12:
15,300

New Coronavirus Cases in the United States on July 12:
60,719

New Coronavirus Cases in the World on July 12:
230,370

Florida has 25.2% of new cases in the US.
Florida has 6.6% of new cases in the world.

Per the Census Bureau

Population of Florida:
21,480,000

Population of the United States:
328,200,000

Population of the World:
7,800,000,000

6.5% of the US population lives in Florida, but 25% of new COVID-19 cases are in Florida.

0.28% of the world’s population lives in Florida, but 6.6% of new COVID-19 cases are in Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis says Disney theme parks are safe and schools should reopen.

 

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No one cares about the lunch lady.

What’s going to be the mortality rate for cafeteria workers when schools reopen? 

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There are a couple of viral tweets going around painting Betsy DeVos as a callous monster for wanting to re-open the schools.

As far as I’ve been able to find, a doctor made that prediction, not Betsy, and I’m not even sure how he came to those numbers because the death rate for children under 18 is actually lower than 0.02%. Still, let’s be very clear. Betsy DeVos is definitely a monster, but she should be going viral because of the full scope of the picture, not one dubious figure.

The economy can’t reopen because there’s nowhere for children to go. Parents can’t leave their kids at home alone while they go back to work, so until they’re back in school, the country won’t start running again. That is the main concern for this administration.

The people who have the means to keep their children home away from public school are mostly white and mostly middle class. This is also great for DeVos because she doesn’t want those kids in school with poor and/or brown kids anyway.

A lot of teachers would rather retire or quit than go back to school next month, and that’s also great for DeVos because if public schools perform poorly, she can more righteously throw her weight behind the charter system she loves so much.

But Betsy DeVos and the whole lot of them are ignoring the lunch ladies.

I grew up in a very rural school district where my graduating class would have been around 80 people (I didn’t graduate with them though because I left for boarding school). I don’t remember the names of any of the janitors in any of the schools I went to growing up. The ones I can clearly build an image of in my mind were 40-year-old Black men, but they were in the background of my upbringing, neither praised nor maligned.

I don’t remember my first bus driver but she was a white woman with a long ponytail and a son named Brian who bullied me on the way home from school every day until I fought back. She kicked me off the bus and my mom had to pick me up for the rest of the year. My second bus driver a few years later was a cheerful Black woman. I remember a lot about her because she was also the computer teacher — that’s what happens in rural school districts, a lot of double duty. They were both in their 40s, but there were a few older bus drivers as well. My mom drove a school bus in her 60s just for something extra to do because she was tired of doing so much hair (she owned a salon). I don’t think anybody hated the bus drivers — except James Harris. I definitely hated James Harris because he was an asshole and I don’t care if anybody from my childhood is reading this. James Harris was an asshole.

One of the 3rd grade teachers went to high school with my mom and she was in her 40s when I came through. My 3rd grade teacher was almost 60 though. My 6th grade science teacher and 7th grade math teacher were both about 60 as well. The rest seemed old at the time, but they were generally under 40. Most of my teachers were nice women and I have pretty fond memories of them growing up.

I don’t have any fond memories of any of the cafeteria workers. They were mean old ladies who gave me nasty food. The square pizza would be burnt. The chicken rings would be rubbery.  I’ve never had chocolate milk that tastes like that outside of a school cafeteria. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich should actually have some jelly in it. And did I mention they were mean? Because they definitely were. When one of the Poor Kids didn’t have the quarter to pay for reduced breakfast, they didn’t get any food, and I felt like it was the mean old ladies’ fault. Lunch was a break from the day, but they would yell at us for just being kids. Why do we have to be so quiet?!

It’s not just me. The lunch lady is the most maligned adult from our childhoods. It’s hard to find nice cartoons about the lunch lady, but these are endless.

lunchladies1

lunchladies3

 

lunchladies4

lunchladies2

As an adult, it’s easier to look back at the cafeteria workers and stand in solidarity with what they go through. Most of those women have cooked for their families for decades. They know their way around the kitchen as much as any other 60-year-old Southern woman, but they were forced to feed us what was stipulated by the guidelines and the budget. They couldn’t give free food to the unfortunate and they didn’t make enough money to feed them out of their own pocket. They sometimes didn’t make enough money to feed themselves, and they’d be punished if they took leftovers (which are supposed to be thrown away per school district regulations, not taken home to feed your family). And if they were a little grumpy from time to time, they had the right to be. It’s a thankless job serving terrible food to children who disrespect you. Also, put yourself in this common scenario: You’re an older woman whose husband has been laid off or passed away, and you have to find a job with no work history. You can either greet at Wal-Mart or serve cold corn at the elementary school.

When schools open, kids will be spreading the coronavirus around like Skittles. As a general rule, children are disgusting germ factories. They’re always leaking and touching things and they’re mysteriously sticky at all times. And they cough like this:

cough

I don’t understand what a school day is supposed to look like. Disney went through all this work to make their park Social Distance Friendly and they’re requiring people to wear masks and the system is already breaking down, but how do you do that in a school? The desks are right next to each other and there’s no way to spread them out. How do you make a class of 25 wear a mask all day long when it takes ten minutes just to get them in a straight line to go to recess?

When the kids start to get sick, some of your children will die. The ones who don’t die will hop on a packed school bus and kill some of the bus drivers. They’ll walk by the janitor who cleans when the halls are mostly empty. They will sit in class all day with a teacher trying to hide behind a shield, but some of them will die too.

Then their midday reprieve from learning and breathing in a mask will be in the school cafeteria where they’re yelling at each other and spraying germs on the grumpy old lady serving the food nobody likes. She’s wearing a mask, but they aren’t. She’s wearing gloves, but they haven’t washed their hands well. She’s keeping her distance, but she’s stuck in that cavern of corona with recycled air for the 3 or 4 hours it takes for all the classes to have lunch.

What’s going to be the mortality rate for the lunch ladies?

 

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