A case study in how to prevent a pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. We’ve learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The upshot is that the government’s disease-fighting agency is overstating the country’s ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons.
A negative test result means something different for each test. If somebody tests negative on a viral test, a doctor can be relatively confident that they are not sick right now; if somebody tests negative on an antibody test, they have probably never been infected with or exposed to the coronavirus. (Or they may have been given a false result—antibody tests are notoriously less accurate on an individual level than viral tests.) The problem is that the CDC is clumping negative results from both tests together in its public reporting.
With the missteps and mishandling of the current pandemic, I’m not surprised that the CDC continues to trip-up over itself. I can’t discern from the article if this is pure laziness from the CDC or bending to the administration’s goal of re-opening the country despite the number of confirmed cases holding steady in many states.
But in early March, Ely noticed a change in the questions. Partly it was an increase in the sheer number of calls, a jump that seemed more sudden and pronounced than the normal mild pre-Easter build-up. But even stranger was how many of the callers seemed, well, clueless. How do you tell if bread is done? Do I really need yeast? And strangest of all: What can I use instead of flour?
Co-CEO Karen Colberg was staring in shock at the recent daily sales figures that had just popped up on her screen. “I fired off a text to the sales team to check their figures,” says Colberg. “It was obviously some sort of mistake.”
No mistake, came the reply. The figures had already been double-checked. They showed a 600% increase in grocery-store sales almost literally overnight.
Even before the pandemic really began to impact daily life in early March, it was nearly impossible to find all purpose and bread flour in our local stores. I chalked flour up there with toilet paper and hand sanitizer as things I didn’t understand the logic behind hoarding during a pandemic.
It wasn’t until mid-March that I remember reading an article explaining that bread making and baking was an activity that people found comfort in which explained the run on flour.
I tried ordering online and it was out of stock everywhere. I tried OfferUp and Craigslist, no dice. It wasn’t until mid-April that generic all-purpose flour started showing up in stores. And it wasn’t until late April that I went to the grocery store, right at 7 a.m. when they opened, and finally found a bag of bread flour.
That day I made several loaves of Hokkaido Milk Bread.
And a couple more the following week. And then pandesal.
Except that I messed something up and they came out like rocks. They were so bad that I wasn’t going to feed these to the birds. They went straight into the trash.
The second batch came out much better.
I’ve been thinking about this article all week. It lays out exactly what we have all seen and observed, in plain sight, and lays out all that we are going to see from this administration in the coming months in response to the pandemic.
I’m including the whole.damn.article as it is today (in case it’s edited in the future):
The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible— by telling the governors they’re in charge without doing what only the federal government can do, by fighting with the press when it shows up to be briefed, by fixing blame for the virus on China or some other foreign element, and by “flooding the zone with shit,” Steve Bannon’s phrase for overwhelming the system with disinformation, distraction, and denial, which boosts what economists call “search costs” for reliable intelligence.
Stated another way, the plan is to default on public problem solving, and then prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default. To succeed this will require one of the biggest propaganda and freedom of information fights in U.S. history, the execution of which will, I think, consume the president’s re-election campaign. So much has already been made public that the standard script for a White House cover up (worse than the crime…) won’t apply. Instead, everything will ride on the manufacture of confusion. The press won’t be able to “expose” the plot because it will all happen in stark daylight. The facts will be known, and simultaneously they will be inconceivable.
“The plan is to have no plan” is not a strategy, really. Nor would I call it a policy. It has a kind of logic to it, but this is different from saying it has a design— or a designer. Meaning: I do not want to be too conspiratorial about this. To wing it without a plan is merely the best this government can do, given who heads the table. The manufacture of confusion is just the ruins of Trump’s personality meeting the powers of the presidency. There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives.
This is the wrong take.
But again, the fault lies with the program’s architects, not its players.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Don’t blame the drunk driver, blame the person who built the road. Blame the person who built the car. Blame the person who poured the drink.
I wish I could say I find it incredible that large publicly traded companies like Shake Shack, Ruth Chris Steakhouses, the Los Angeles Lakers, and a laundry list of energy and information technology companies with thousands of employees, millions in annual revenue and cash reserves, have the audacity to believe that they are “small business” and since the bill language doesn’t specifically spell out that they are ineligible, they apply for and end up receiving these loans that are intended to prop-up small businesses. No matter how many people they employ or how much value they provide, these large multi-million dollar companies shouldn’t receive this funding and they should be shamed.
On CNBC, Mark Cuban chimed in, saying that public companies that take federal loans under the PPP will “kill the brand.”
I’ve never ate at a Ruth Chris and probably won’t. While Shake Shack has vowed to return its $10 million loan, I may think twice about eating at their establishment again. And fuck the L.A. Lakers.
All of this is exposing how greedy and corrupt this system is.
I have no interest in a JDM tiny van but I totally get the obsession with an off-beat, quirky vehicle.
Based on my responses to the survey, my personality traits closely align with the following fictional characters:
1. 92% match with Charlie Young from The West Wing
2. 88% match with Lucius Fox from The Dark Knight
3. 88% match with Arthur from Inception
4. 87% match with Bruce Banner from the MCU
5. 86% match with Bernard Lowe from West World
Who I “think” I am (most days):
132. Gus Fring from Breaking Bad (73%)
188. Stanley Hudson from The Office (67%)
243. Bruce Wayne from The Dark Knight (61%)
249. Walter White from Breaking Bad (60%)
“photography is not about making beautiful images: it’s about the moment and the vision, about that curious intersection of artist, subject, and audience. It’s about Being There.”
I enjoyed this essay and deep dive into the significance of this one photo.
The Gemera is one of the most impressive cars that has been announced in the last five years. More impressive than the (unreleased) Tesla Roadster and Cybertruck, the Porsche Taycan, and anything else in the performance electric or supercar categories. The design is perfectly Koenigsegg and stunning. The performance specs are absolutely insane. Plus, the Gemera has seating for four and four cup holders! Insane I tell you.
The last time I was this excited about a car it was the second generation Ford GT which came out of nowhere and blew me away with its design and specs. And yes, the Ford GT has cup holders.