First: I know I’ve been a pretty useless poster for the last long while. I won’t make promises, but I have some reason to hope I’ll be a bit more present going forward.
You have been warned.
Second: this is a pretty weak way to reenter the posting world, but I think/hope some of you might be interested in a short essay I wrote for The Atlantic that went up yesterday.
Basically when I heard that GOP assholes were, in a seemingly/likely coordinated way trying to rebrand COVID-19 as “the Wuhan virus” or “the Chinese virus,” I lost my shit. Not just because of the transparent attempt to evade responsibility for the colossal GOP fuck-up that will/has already cost lives, but because of the deep and long history of the use of disease as a racist and anti-immigrant trope, being repurposed to do yet more harm.
Here’s a taste:
Its [the plague’s] journey didn’t take long. The first documented victim, a Chinese laborer named Wong Chut King, died in San Francisco’s Chinatown on March 6, 1900. The outbreak that followed lasted until 1904, killing more than one hundred people, most of them Chinese. The established racial mythology of the day—that the Chinese were alien threats, vectors of social contagion—molded the city’s response. On March 7, the day after Wong died, a rope barrier appeared around Chinatown, and police forced every ethnic Chinese person to remain confined in the area—while allowing white people to leave. (For my account of these events I’ve relied on Gunther Risse’s Plague, Fear, and Politics in San Francisco’s Chinatown; Nayan Shah’s Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown; and David K. Randall’s Black Death at the Golden Gate.
The quarantine didn’t hold—but in its place came proposals for a much more radical solution. If the packed and impenetrable Chinese neighborhood was the source of a dread disease, why not simply eradicate it, to achieve by design what Honolulu’s firebrands had accomplished by accident? As the historian Gunther Risse reports, a newspaper said the quiet part out loud: Chinatown was a “foul spot” and “the only way to get rid of that menace is to eradicate Chinatown from the city … and give the debris to the flames.” Burn it down, start again (not coincidentally, on a patch of prime real estate), and as for those who lived there? A member of the San Francisco Board of Health knew what to do: “Every Chinese in Chinatown ought to be removed to a detention camp somewhere in the hills.”
There’s the whole megillah at the link. It’s an ugly story–and a more intricate one than I had space to develop. I wrote it on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning–as in before the Shitgibbon vomited his “alien plague” monstrousness. But it came as no surprise, not after the chorus of GOP voices spreading the old and murderous lie.
We should learn. We don’t. Or rather, there is no end to the willingness of morally bankrupt humans–the Republican Party, all of it, in its modern form–to weaponize hate. And the joke (hah!) is that when they do so, more people die.
With that: have a great evening. Talk about this, or, perhaps better, anything else, something that reminds us that this community, like so many others, doesn’t do or countenance the crap some around us fling.
Image: E.M. Ward, A woman seated on the ground, torchbearer to left, below heads of plague victims, 1848.
On a somewhat positive note, a Saskatchewan lab is working hard on a vaccine and getting closer to animal testing.
I literally (yes, literally literally) gasped aloud when Trump said that last night.
Looking forward to reading your article as an after-dinner treat.
If they can’t stoke racism and xenophobia, what do they have?
Tax cuts for the wealthy!
@Roger Moore: That won’t get them anywhere close to a majority.
The racism and disease thing was my initial fear when Anne Laurie started this series of posts. That is why I gave her one of my favorite Twitter people on viruses so she would write more about the science than some of the political nonsense that we are going to have in a press that has fewer beat reporters specializing in science.
Today’s GOP is running on nothing but white male supremacy, full stop. They’re trying to paint Joe. Biden. as some sort of crazy leftist! (When they aren’t trying to paint him as – get this – incoherent and addled!!!!1!)
trumpublicans just kill me with this stuff. Call me when Joey B has two dozen sexual assault cases waiting in the wings, GOP.
anyway, back on topic for once: I’m shocked that Dems aren’t (for now, anyway) going after trumpov for failing to do anything a) competent and/or b) that actually delivers for their base.
These ‘fiscal conservatives’ have blown up the deficit
These ‘pro-lifers’ have done nothing to actually deliver there (lest they alienate the rest of the country and also lose the energy of their rabid base)
These ‘America First’ers keep running into the realities of today’s global economy
And on and on…
The modern GOP seems to want to extend the treatment of Chinese-American during the SF plague epidemic to all the ‘lesser’ people of the US, of all descriptions. Progress, I guess? In their quaint and quirky way, they have become more inclusive.
It’s long been known that plague has been around for over 1000 years all over the ‘old world’ Europe, Asia, Middle East, but the prejudice that it was an ‘Asian disease’ persisted into the mid 20th century.
Kevin Love of the Cavaliers just donated $100K from his foundation to help the staff and employees of the arena in which they play.
This where we see the real impact on the economy as working people no longer have a job to go to. The Dow may reflect the lost confidence and sinking markets, but it’s those concession workers and security members and support staff who will no longer be allowed to work.
Now multiply that by the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS/NWSL, Tennis, golf, athletics, Olympics, international soccer and the scale suddenly becomes daunting.
And that’s just the sports sphere.
Italian nurse Alessia Bonari works in Milan and describes the conditions she and her colleague have been facing for weeks now.
Even the bare bones Wiki summary of the San Francisco plague contains some appalling stuff:
The San Francisco plague of 1900–1904 was an epidemic of bubonic plague centered on San Francisco‘s Chinatown. It was the first plague epidemic in the continental United States. The epidemic was recognized by medical authorities in March 1900, but its existence was denied for more than two years by California’s Governor Henry Gage. His denial was based on business reasons, to protect the reputations of San Francisco and California and to prevent the loss of revenue due to quarantine. The failure to act quickly may have allowed the disease to establish itself among local animal populations. Federal authorities worked to prove that there was a major health problem, and they isolated the affected area; this undermined the credibility of Gage, and he lost the governorship in the 1902 elections. The new Governor George Pardee implemented a medical solution and the epidemic was stopped in 1904. There were 121 cases identified, including 119 deaths.
@Baud: They have stupid. Plenty of stupid.
CNN must have noticed your Atlantic piece, I happened to have just read their piece before I came back to BJ:
What historians heard when Trump warned of a ‘foreign virus’
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
The new plague is already wiping out businesses, if not yet humans, in modern SF’s Chinatown. Meanwhile, I’ve been summoned as a Disaster Service Worker. (I’m a City of San Francisco employee). I’m in the third and last tier – the folks who are usually told to “just stay out of the way” – so we’re close to the highest response level we have. We’ve gone to 11, and the pandemic has only gone to, what, a 3 so far?
While Tom deserves props for his article, he’s hardly the only person talking about this issue. Asian Americans started trying to counter this kind of racist propaganda the moment the Republicans picked it up. I’m a lot more impressed by my previous Congrescritter (Adam Schiff) than by my current one (Judy Chu), but she’s been doing yeoman’s work calling out the Republicans for spreading this filth.
Rep. Ilham Omar called out McCarthy yesterday for his use of “Chinese coronavirus” as racist and the nutbags are not happy!
“Viruses don’t have nationalities.”
Google tells us the H1N1 (Swine Flu) resulted in 18,036 deaths. COVID-19 about to break the 5,000 death barrier. I know the Johns Hopkins tracker is well known. I found this one: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries
Yes, as a total non-expert it does seem if the U.S. tested many more people we would have many more official cases.
@Roger Moore: Ben Zimmer has another good piece up at The Atlantic on this theme. Lots of people doing it—and that’s good; we need not just to object to this shit but to shame those spreading this shit.
Trump et al. are not capable of shame. But if we call it out all the time, we can raise the social cost of being an asshole.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:
It’s about knocking the R0 down to 1 or below to flatten the curve of total cases so hospitals are not overwhelmed
I didn’t listen to his statement, so I didn’t know he’d referred to Covid-19 using a slur. At least we know now what Stephen Miller’s contribution was to the statement.
It’s amazing how far we have not come. //
hells littlest angel
@Baud: They are bizarro hedgehogs — they can only do one thing, and they do it poorly.
Excuse me for getting on my soapbox, but…
It’s crazy to me that the shelves are empty of sanitizer and tissue paper…but soap is still sitting on the shelves…looking right at folks…smh
Consistent and proper hand washing is a pet peeve of mine, but I am a Microbiologist after all.
The #1 way to protect and contain… https://media.giphy.com/media/ejegcnv21wIOA/giphy.gif
A few days ago, some middle school teachers posted a set of Powerpoint slides that were meant to accompany an NPR podcast explaining COVID-19 to middle school students. It was, by and large, your typical crappy classroom PPT – opens with a brief science primer on just what a virus is, then most of the balance is on the news and what it all means. After that – at the tail end of the PPT, just before the “how you can stay safe” section – were two slides on xenophobia that basically boiled down to “Don’t beat up the Asian kids,” something that has been happening in some places.
The usual suspects lost their shit in expected ways, e.g. HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT RACISM WHILE PEOPLE ARE DYING YOU LIBS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERYTHING ARG ARG ARG. And my first thought was “Why, I thought we were the easily offended ones who overreacted to everything.” But on second thought, it really seems like there is a contingent (related to the “It’s not racism if it’s factual” camp and its variants) for whom xenophobic terror is not a side effect but a lesson. True, it’s no shocker that there are people out there who actively want more people to be bigots, but it’s still always a little bracing to see it.
Job interview tomorrow. Public health lab supe. Kinda apropro for what going on with #cornoravirus
Very first time interviewing for a Lab Supe position.
I see what you did there.
Their slur makes them think they are immune and won’t get it.
They will be proven wrong in short order.
The virus is outpacing their ability to brand it. Just last week they were joking, now they are panicking, soon they will be dying. Then the recrimination and anger will begin.
And, trust me, they aren’t going to be taking it out on some Chinese pangolins.
Real ‘Muricans were shooting Sikhs after 9/11, so imagine what they will do as Corona rolls over the heartland.
Hey, if Ann Laurie is around, there’s 2 hour special from KING-5 Seattle titled, “Facts not Fear”. Maybe it could be linked to in the roundup.
Don’t be me. Success is sure to follow.
Be like these guys
@lamh36: Good luck!
Now the PRC government is trying to counter the “weaponized xenophobia” campaign in a weird way, with officials claiming that the virus was already in the US:
It’s an unusual move. The PRC has flirted with anti-American propaganda in the past, but only rarely, and what I personally saw was likely targeting overseas Chinese. I doubt that this is aimed at stirring up xenophobia, though it might do that – some (cautious emphasis on that) Chinese people are inclined to hate Americans because they assume we all support Trump. But of course, it’s likely just another element of the PRC strategy of denial.
OT, but important for the future. WA just dumped some more vote totals. Biden’s lead is up to 27,000.
I never listen to the man speak and didn’t realize he said that. I guess he’s even worse than I knew.
@Baud: Tax cuts
@lamh36: Be yourself. You’ve got this.
mesmer a la carte
I read with great interest your article, which was linked on the twitter feed #LOLGOP. I have recently done a good deal of research on San Francisco history for a book project and found out that the city has a very ‘curious’ relationship with its Chinese population. During the gold rush era, when populations from around the world dropped everything to exploit the ‘diggings’, the Chinese were used as semi-indentured labor and established their very insular community in the city.
They were easy targets for anti-immigrant fervor which was by many degrees much more violent than our current era, while at the same time providing the illicit pleasures that the newly gold-rich enjoyed, from opium dens to gambling parlors and brothels.
But perhaps the most salient part of your article was the mention of empires opening up trade from China as part of their relentless search of exploitable resources and capital gain. That plagues followed due to ignorance and arrogance was an unintended but inevitable consequence.
Slightly off topic, just prior to the gold rush, otter pelts were worth more than gold and Russian trapping expeditions came down through Alaska to the otter’s breeding grounds on the Channel Islands. Their prime customers – the Chinese.
Thanks, Tom. I have often thought about the use of smallpox infected blankets to kill Native Americans in our past. This is a cousin to that. In other news, my asshole Trump-humping brother disowned me again today (is three times allowed?) over a very similar issue to this racist behavior. I called him on it so, I’m the problem. Fuck ’em, no patience for willfully ignorant bullshit.
We’re getting live updates here in the Greater Bwahstin area.
So now all of the adjacent school districts are closed for 2 weeks (Cambridge, Belmont, Waltham, Newton, and just now, Watertown). Our music school is going remote-only (to be specified; possibly Zoom, though we know Skype and Facetime work from previous experience). WarriorGirl’s private school just cancelled all evening events to Patriot’s Day week, and it looks like the Marathon is moving to fall this year. All sportsball is shut down in Boston (and if you don’t understand what shitshow that’s gonna be, I hope Casey Affleck puts up a film).
Districts (and private schools) are closing as soon as a community member is presumptive for COVID-19. That’s spouses of teachers, parents or caregivers of students, as well as faculty, staff and students. From what I observed today, one case means “we close the school for 2 days”. Two cases means “we close the district for two weeks”.
Local grocery stores were looted today, like a predicted 30″ snowstorm. I went to Wegmans because we were out of some staples, and a staffer in the elevator warned me it was a madhouse, as if being forced to park on the 5th floor of a parking garage weren’t enough warning.
Shit’s gettin’ real, folks.
@lamh36: Good luck.
@lamh36: toilet paper is running Low, but Kleenex shelves are still full. Wrong end, people!
its really just the liquid antibacterial soap that’s gone in my neck of the woods. Since any soap will do in this case, bar or plain liquid soap will do.
@Andrew Johnston: Feel compelled to say I have a nephew with your name.
For lamh36: Good luck! I’ve used hand sanitizer maybe about 10 times in my life. Just don’t like it. My wife went to five stores searching for it today to no avail. I brought up the soap superiority and she said people use it in their car, etc., everywhere soap is not available.
be yourself. You’ve got this.
wash your hands, don’t touch your face, cough into your sleeve if you don’t have proper tissues and fist bump, bootie bump or foot bump rather than shaking hands, ; )
@HumboldtBlue: That is great! Capybara hot tub
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@lamh36: wear your most powerful/comfortable outfit, consider the interview as a date – would you like to spend more time with this entity, what can you bring to the job (you’ve So Got this), ask about the day to day, where do people park, eat, gather, what the workday and reporting relationships look like. Ask and tell. Will they work for you, advance your career, provide tools and connections…
Make them need you if you want to work there. You are Lamh36 and you bring great gifts of dedication, accomplishment and curiosity!
@FlyingToaster: I’m so happy I started on this a month ago. The only struggle is not to eat my stash. I don’t have much space in my condo, so my bedroom is storing five bags of groceries. I’ll leave it alone for a few months before cooking.
tonight I made applesauce in the instapot from a bag of apples I picked up last week. Unfortunately I scraped my finger with the pealer. FML.
Just hearing Indianapolis mayor closing down the schools for weeks. Governor of Indiana announced a 20 day break for all state schools in meeting the 180 days of the school year.
Also hearing the NCAA cancelled the mens baseball College World Series. It’s in mid to late June (the one in Omaha). Seems a little premature.
Know this is a little OT but the second tweet response was so lovely I had to share it.
It is, I’m envious.
yeah, it’s not OT at all.
The regular season is postponed at best, cancelled at worst. ALL NCAA sports were suspended for March and April, to be re-evaluated in April. Since most college ball starts in April, it means either a truncated or non-existent season.
@lamh36: I took my own little bar of soap to work. I keep it in a little plastic cup at my desk and trot it off to the bathroom periodically during the day.
I hate sanitizer. It’s so weird and greasy feeling.
I did buy a little spray bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol that Imcan refill as needed.
Ya’ll know all this does is make me think orange or someone close to him already got Corona…smh
@Baud: Tax cuts
How can you even put these three together? Bootie bump is the best choice by a light year!
There is always the trope – immigrants == dirty. They totally did that with the Irish and the Italians and I’m sure they have done it with Asians and why not black folks too. Even though through my gf, they think that white people do not understand cleanliness.
Trudeau’s wife tested positive for Coronavirus.
World markets tanking AGAIN
Level % Change
Nikkei 225 Japan -9.63%
Hang Seng Hong Kong -5.70%
FTSE 100 England -10.87%
DAX Germany -12.24%
Dow futures down “only” 570!
@lamh36: You probably already know and have done this, but part of my prep for a job interview is to research the hell out of the department – their web page, twitter, Google – so I can ask questions that are germane to the position and the organization. I write those down so they stick in my mind.
I also write down answers to The Most Probable Questions, esp. ones that require some thought (talk about a project that really challenged you, talk about how you dealt with a conflict with a co-worker).
The opportunity sounds very exciting! Wishing you the very best of good luck!
@FlyingToaster: That might be what they said (and it would make sense to me), but Omaha media reporting this: “That would mean that the College World Series in Omaha would also be canceled. A local source close to the situation confirmed to The World-Herald that the CWS will not be played.” omaha.com
Interview: Be ready for the stupidest of all questions: What’s your greatest weakness? I got it in February (phone interview). I think from now on if I’m asked that, I will go on a rant and immediately end the interview.
@mad citizen: Sounds a lot like what Boston sports radio will during tomorrow drive-time…
“Why can’t the sick players stay home and the not-sick players come and play? I can’t use my tickets! Lazy $#@&%^%&^&%^#$!”
@lamh36: I am convinced that there are people who now think soap is for poor people, hand sanitizer is what we use. Much like bottled water instead of tap. The wrinkled noses at the thought of drinking tap. Apparently many have been raised to think that bar soap is nasty and require liquid soap.
This ties to the thread because studies have shown that priming people to think about cleanliness increases their racism. So one would expect that all the handwashing messages would trigger racist outrage in some. We need to work on better ways to handle this.
I ordered groceries for delivery tomorrow morning, let’s see what actually shows up.
@mrmoshpotato: you didn’t read my comment near the bottom of the previous thread? I’m crushed.
Do not google bootie bump.
Disney World closing on Sunday.
@Jay: What a fucking low bar we have right now. “I will make sure we’re prepared and I won’t lie to you” and we all are like “Aaaahhhhh, please be President NOW!!!!”
I hope Dump has it. If the Dow didn’t get his attention, getting carted off to the hospital is the last possibility.
Los Angeles just banned gatherings of 50 or more. That leaves me conflicted whether I can get on the bus or not.
@Patricia Kayden: I’m okay with not testing non-serious cases. It sucks, but shit, it’s fine. But you treat the folks that need to be admitted. Full stop.
@Peale: Disneyland/CA Adventure and Universal Hollywood closing Saturday.
Stupidity is forever. Anti-bacterial soap is largely a waste of time, but you can’t convince many people otherwise.
Also, there are always affluent people who come to believe that whatever dumbass fad they embrace must become the new standard.
ETA. And yeah, even poor kids will decide that something like a certain shoe is socially necessary, so much of this behavior is just what we humans do when we are stuck in stupid mode.
Likely no. This is going to go on a lot longer than I think most people are comfortable considering. I realize the 14-21 day closures underway now are with the incubation period in mind in hopes that anyone who has been exposed and will exhibit symptoms does so within that interval. However, there will continue to be reservoirs of the virus in the population, which will cause occasional outbreaks/flare ups. This is probably going to continue until we have an effective vaccine, or at least an effective anti-viral treatment is identified to tide us over until the vaccine comes online.
I’d seen the announcement about DisneyLand (LA) and assumed it was a timing issue (what’s booked and how can we clear people outta here safely). Glad to see they’re being responsible.
I see Universal Orlando is also closing, like Universal Hollywood. Good.
@lamh36: Oh please Donnie, continue to tempt the fates…
@Martin: I’m avoiding public transportation.
@mad citizen: I tell them the truth, that people’s strengths and weaknesses are aligned. Give them a strength (able to really go through something step by step and find out where the problem is) with the flipside weakness (not that great at estimating how long something will take to do).
Not enough/any attention has been given by the media of Pence’s seemingly BS claims of 1 million and then 4 million tests are out there and available.
Reality not only has a well-known liberal bias (Steven Colbert), but reality no longer comports with the Republican bubble they live in.
@mrmoshpotato: There’s got to be a new dance sensation lurking among that combination.
@Gravenstone: Pretty sure Trump knows he would lose his shit if he was diagnosed.
The Caribbean and Latin America are taking drastic steps to address the spread.
And you know it’s serious when every reputable news source in the world is rapidly going to free content in an effort to get the news out.
the correct answer, is “I don’t know yet, I have so many.”
@Martin: I would love nothing more than for him to end up needing breathing support. That would absolutely crush his psyche, being that helpless.
TS (the original)
Rep Porter speaking to Lawrence. He played her questions from congress – i hadn’t seen it before – very impressive.
Found an article on the testing: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/12/21175034/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-usa
“I’m very puzzled by what’s happened. The CDC did a really good job with H1N1 and Zika in exactly this thing: sending out huge quantities of test kits very rapidly to every state in the US and more than 100 countries around the world,” Tom Frieden, who led the CDC under President Barack Obama, told Vox. “The world came to rely on the CDC.”
We all know the answer: Everything Trump touches, dies.
Advice? Relax. And, wow, it seems like you may be exactly who they need at the right time.
Not testing means that people who have colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, go undiagnosed, untreated,
And people who could go back to work with just the ususal precautions who need to, will either go back to work anyway, even if it is Covid19, or will self quarentine and take a financial/career/employment hit they can’t afford.
No positive test, no coverage in the few places and Employers who are backfilling the emergency.
@Brachiator: I know about the antibacterial soap. They really have cut back on selling it, which is great. People don’t seem to notice and it used to be such a big deal.
If you ever really want to squick one of these super neat folks, start explaining microbiomes.
@Martin: Who would notice? Dump losing his shit is just another day ending in “y”.
I’m a retired 8th grade science teacher. Infectious diseases was in our Missouri science curriculum, so my students learned about various diseases, what caused them, etc. I did a small unit on the 1918 Influenza – used the PBS American Experience dvd and the online materials that went with the show. It was very good. It not only covered the disease itself, but how our country dealt with it. One thing that fascinated me was how after the pandemic was over, people just forgot about it. Almost like it didn’t happen. They just put it out of their minds. I suppose you have to move on, get on with life. I didn’t know much about this pandemic until I taught it. I know it wasn’t covered when I was in school. Let me tell you, though; if I was still teaching, every kid would be washing their hands at the start of class. I had 6 sinks in my room, and could accommodate 10 kids washing their hands at the same time. We could come up with a song to time our washing! That would not only help in the covid 19 situation, but might cut down on other communicable diseases, too.
For the learned here, does this video teach me something useful?
There’s a new thread up–positivity! The following isn’t: shit’s getting real. Formula 1 in Australia for Race #1. Tested 8 people, 1 McClaren team member positive. Took them hours, but they cancelled the race.
Um, no. It just means they’ve made the unconscionable decision not to test for this virus. The tweet in question outlined an entire panel of other things they had ruled out. That means the tests for the other illnesses are still available and in wide use. There is zero reason they would stop that.
This is exactly what I expect will happen with COVID-19. It might take a little longer (IIUC there are two strains in circulation that don’t provoke cross-immunity), but once enough people have had it (maybe both strains) & recovered & seroconverted (generated antibodies) it’ll just burn out. It’ll be a rocky two years or so, but we’ll get through it.
And I don’t expect any drastic ongoing dislocation of everyday life, because most of the adjustments we all are (or should be) making are just amplifications of pre-existing movement in certain directions, e.g., “social distancing” will probably boost online facilities for prospective couples meeting rather than just “running into” each other at a gathering.
We’ll remember 2020 as the year without March Madness, the year everyone hunkered down, the year that half or more of our favorite restaurants and bars and dance halls went bankrupt. And, one devoutly hopes, the year of The End Of An Error, when Agolf Twitler & his grifting spawn & their cosplay-Nazi friends get dragged out of government & swap their baggy suits & crotch-length ties for orange jumpsuits.