More coronavirus lion around

lions coexisting

the lion sleeps tonight

Journaling the coronavirus, Friday April 17: ready or not, the great re-opening is phased in


Today the US death toll from COVID is 37,158, there have been 2,000 – 2,500 deaths per day since April 7th.  Globally,  more than 150,000 have died. Of the 2.1 million people infected, more than 600K are in the US, making us the pandemic hot spot of the world. Our local hot spots include New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Detroit, plus Santa Clara here in California, though that emergency seems to have peaked at 1,800 infections and 69 deaths, things seem to be leveling off now, or at least not getting worse. New York City’s death toll is 10x that of Santa Clara: 630 died just today, and that too represents progress, it’s been 800+ for weeks now. Also there are fewer daily hospitalizations, considered a good indication New York has started to flatten the curve.

The president is annoyed when he hears from the press that the US has the most deaths because we don’t, it has to be China. “It’s a massive country and they must have the most,” he says. “Oh well, it is what it is,” he laments Chinese disinformation and media perfidy. “What a SAD state of affairs.” 

I can’t stop thinking about all of those people, each with a family that had to be called, because most people are dying without loved ones nearby. Each with a bag of personal belongings that the hospital will hand a survivor. There is going to be a great wave of grief in America this summer. I predict that this Fourth of  July, our first national holiday since the pandemic surged, a lot of tears are going to be shed. This Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are going to be so hard for so many.  Around the world, chairs are permanently empty at dinner tables, dogs and cats are waiting for people who are never coming home. With so many suffering the same blows at the same time, perhaps a catholic empathy will take hold. In grief, as in love, differences have a way of falling away.

News we don’t hear a lot about is this year’s crop of high school seniors, bound to be remembered as the COVID Class of 2020. My daughter has missed her final track meet and there will be no state meet. She’ll miss the ceremonial rights of passage that are prom and graduation. Not to mention, just being a senior, being at school among friends. She’s still healing from a recent heartbreak, something much harder to do alone. She says it’s better, now, and she is definitely happier, though I notice all the songs she is teaching herself on the guitar are sad ones. The silver lining: uninterrupted time to mull the options for the coming year – it’s the season of college acceptance letters (also rejections).  I keep picturing all the college campuses across the world, empty. All those quadrangles of grass without girls sunning themselves, no boys playing hackysack, no music blaring from dorm windows thrown open to the spring air.

Every daily presser features a monologue by the president, followed by guest appearances at the podium, followed by a Q&A cage match with reporters. Each monologue has a vestibule, where the day’s storyline is developed, often rendered in language more suited to a Churchillian figure exhorting a war weary nation while bombs rain down from the sky. The florid language is greatly at odds with the president’s normal speech patterns of simple monosyllabic words repeated over and over; the speechwriter is clearly trying to appeal to Trump’s Trumpian sense of self, and in all fairness, if I had the speechwriting job I’d be putting only moderate effort into the prepared remarks, because they will be ad libbed ad infinitum.  That’s where the president feels strongest – orating with one foot on the rock of what people told him, the other foot free to roam wherever his fancy takes him – sometimes even, into his own mouth. (I’ve seen the binder the president reads from and was surprised the speechwriter isn’t making better use of bullet points and headers instead of sentences that form big blocks of run-on text.)

Today’s speech vestibule makes it clear to anyone listening who President Trump thinks you should blame for this whole pandemic debacle  “A cruel virus from a distant land unfairly claimed thousands of American lives.”  

I keep expecting the president to glance up with a shrug that shays “I don’t write this stuff, I’m just reading it.”

The theme of foreigners as the bringers of bad things continues throughout: “I suspended dangerous foreign travel,” he reminds us for what has to be the hundredth time, definitely at least the fiftieth.

Today’s vestibule also features a rerun of what I have come to think of as this administration’s COVID Response Greatest Hits: we hear another rendition of hospitals built in the arenas and conference centers, the Army corps of engineers, the numbers of beds, the great ships sailing.

The language of war is liberally employed. The virus is called “a tough, smart, vicious invisible enemy.”  We are told of “Experimental medicines rushed to the front lines”.  The frontline healthcare workers are called warriors. Truck drivers and food suppliers are lauded for their bravery. No American doubts in fact that these people are brave workers in a fight – it’s not the language that is the problem, it’s the notion that praising them is enough. As any soldier will tell you, praise is no substitute for arming and girding them for the job at hand, which the federal government has failed miserably to do, there is simply no other way to put it.

Thanks to our all out military operation and the extraordinary devotion of our people, we’ll experience far fewer deaths than even the most optimistic projection. 

~President Trump

The Vice President, when it is his turn at the lectern, also has a vestibule of sorts,  starting always by formally thanking the president and stating that the coronavirus task force has met today and updated the president. He often repeats some, most or all of the statistics the president already reviewed: today he focuses on repeating the number of military medical deployments, and the states they have gone to, I guess in case there are all new reporters in the room, or all new viewers at home.

“The next front of our war: Opening Up America Again”
The main theme of Thursday and Friday is, of course, the Great Re-Opening, which will be done in phases.

  • Phase one will bring restaurants, gyms and outpatient surgeries online.
  • Phase two will allow gatherings of up to 50 plus nonessential travel and school can resume and elective surgery ok’d. 
  • Phase three will be the new normal of “good hygiene, respect for space, and asymptomatic sentinel surveillance among other things.

We’re told healthy Americans can return to work as conditions on the ground allow, but it’s very unclear what conditions allow that.  We’re also told  that “new scientific metrics and benchmarks are being created for each phase in re-opening our country” but no further detail is provided, and I wonder if the metrics are new to science, new to the task force, or just new in the sense they haven’t been revealed yet. We are readying for a science based reopening, a data-driven re-opening, we are told.

“America wants to work again,” the president intones. “To preserve the health of our citizens we must preserve our functioning economy!”  I think that’s backwards, reader, but I don’t read this stuff, I just write it lol.

The president warns that continuing to shelter in place carries with it a tremendous toll too – he lists depression, heart disease, mental well-being, suicide, and drug addiction as among the heavy prices we’ll pay for continuing to prevent deaths from the virus and overwhelming our healthcare system.

So, we may be opening but we’re putting safety first. One death is too many.

~President Trump

Dr. Fauci calls it a robust program for re-entering into normality.  The design of the phases is based on satisfying the gating, with no rebound, he tells us.

Very quickly, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky announced they’ll work in close coordination to reopen the Midwest regional economy.  The governors said they will focus on at least four factors in determining the ideal time to reopen their states’ economies:

  1. sustained control of new infection and hospitalization rates,
  2. enhanced testing and tracing capabilities,
  3. adequate health care capacity to respond to a resurgence and
  4. best workplace social distancing techniques,

It actually sounds like an approach that sounds far more data-driven than the phased plan the White House task force has come up with. One wonders how “enhanced testing and tracing” will be operationalized, given there is a near-total dearth of both. In case anyone is thinking May 1 will become a free-for-all, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers extended his state’s stay-at-home order until May 26.

Testing
The obfuscating language about testing continues. We are assured that the United States has “the most advanced and robust testing anywhere in the world” which is simply not true.

The president says that there are partisan voices in the media demonstrating a complete failure to understand the scope of the testing, “We started from ground zero, we were outdated and obsolete from the past (ding! Obama dig).”  Friday’s presser features the use of powerpoint to share testing information.

The potential for the death toll to have been much higher, per the projections made for an unmitigated disease, is a constant theme.  At this point the twisting turning looping curving of the direction of blame and deflection of same has become quite difficult to follow – which is the whole point of course, the product the president is selling here is doubt, after all.

However, that is the very reason for this journal, so I can confidently tell you that the projections of 2.2 million deaths were utilized by the CDC and scientists like Dr. Fauci and Birx to metaphorically hit the president over the head with the consequences of continuing to ignore and downplay and otherwise minimize the virus. Those projections were what made the president veer off the mad course he was taking, and even madder courses he was considering, and realize, finally, that like it or not his choices were pretty stark: stay the current ‘it’s going to magically disappear’ course he was on and strike the iceberg that would be overrunning our healthcare system, or steer for the shores of mitigation.

That we have successfully steered a big ship in the nick of time away from the ‘berg is attributable mostly to the persuasive powers of Dr. Fauci, the quick actions of some key local and state officials, and the staying at home powers of the American public.

“We’ve avoided healthcare rationing and shortfalls,” the president asserts, though later that same evening the PBS News Hour features a nurse who shows us via zoom how he has to keep using the same N95 face mask all day, and store it in a brown paper lunch sack at the hospital.  He has managed to obtain one mask for every day of the week. After a 12 or even 18 hour shift he removes one, puts it in the designated spot on his dining room table, and moves to the next one.  This non-scientific system is supposed to give each mask a cycle of time when the viruses on the surface can die, before he needs to put it back on again. It’s a clear, explicit demonstration of a warrior working through an equipment shortfall.

Dr. Birx talks about the strategy to prevent/detect a second outbreak, which includes early surveillance syndromic monitoring of deviations from baselines, asymptomatic monitoring in sentinel monitoring sites, and antibody testing. These sorts of polysyllabic sprees are pretty common coming from Dr. Birx; she has a very didactic way of talking. “The FDA is being cautious,” she tells us, noting that some countries are finding a high false negative rate, something the US is trying to avoid.  “Things can look good in the lab and in the field are not as good, as I’ve learned around the world in the field,” she laughs, and in her jungle-and-dessert colors today -a dun colored dress and green scarf – you can easily see her in a pith helmet or sleeping beneath mosquito nets.

Mike Pence tells us that we are re-inventing testing in America; traditional testing at the CDC leftover from the past way of doing testing was slow and old fashioned. He comes down hard on the words old fashioned and traditional in a way that I bet is new to him considering his politics.

He says “we believe states could more than double testing today by activating all the labs that Dr. Birx will be listing and they’ll be talking to Governors about on Monday” which is the third time we’ve heard about these machines and these labs and a pending call with governors to activate them.

PBS News Hour reported that the number of tests processed in commercial labs has dropped from 100,000 to 75,000 over the last weeks, something the task force tells us is a good thing, because we have so many other tests that don’t have to go through the labs, and the labs are now extra capacity. “The media says it’s a bad thing when in fact it’s a great thing, because it indicates the states are moving to faster more local solutions.”

The president updates us on ventilators: “Ventilators were made, ventilators were delivered, we started with very little and ended with a lot. We’re now the King of ventilators, we’ll have a great stockpile if this happens again, we’ve handled that situation incredibly well. What we’ve done with ventilators is amazing, they’re big, expensive and highly complex.”

The president updates us on the mortality rate of the virus:  “We’ve achieved a lower mortality rate than all other countries.” 

The president updates us on tests: “We’ve completed the most tests than anywhere, it’s not even close, we have the most robust advanced and accurate testing system in the world.” The test by Abbot Laboratories is lauded as the hot one, Roche is brought up again and thanked, though no actual actions have been reported, or results. One million additional tests a week are possible, we’re told.

The president updates us on cotton swabs:  There are no dates or numbers, just a bunch of people getting ready to possibly solve this unthought-of shortage at some point in the future, you’ll see.

The president updates us on the past: Four to five weeks ago we had the best economy we’ve ever had. The stock market was at all time highs. Then one day they said you got to close it up.

The president updates us on beds: We built more than what was needed but we wanted to err on the side of caution, and I”m mostly wondering if he realizes that

The president updates us on New York:  We are reminded of the fact that New York had the Javitz Center turned into a hospital, and a big ship turned into a COVID ship, “But they didn’t need it! (ding! Cuomo dig), we were over prepared –  it was a good faith effort! (ding), but great they didn’t need it (ding! Cuomo dig).

The president updates us on what almost was:  we review yet again the number of deaths projected by the different models, and the president compares some of those projections to the the number of deaths in the Civil War which is by no means the first time the death toll of the Civil War has been evoked. I

The president updates us on the number of authorized antibody tests (4) and why that’s important, reading from his binder about “wonderful, beautiful immunity.” Vaccines are coming along really really well too. Therapies are coming along too and that will be immediate and that will be a big day.  That’s it – that’s the update.

The president updates us on Air Bridge reading out for the umpteenth time the numbers: 44.5 million N95s, 524 million gloves, 63.5 million surgical masks and 10 million gowns, and 500 million more masks coming in from orders and manufacturing. Later in the briefing Mike Pence will read this same list off, right about the same time ten nurses in Santa Monica are suspended for refusing to work with COVID patients without N95 masks – their hospital provides surgical masks only. It’s a tough time to lose frontline healthcare workers as the area begins experiencing its first significant surge of infection (100 new patients in the past 24 hours) and mortality (three days of record death tolls).

Governors troll, Trump tweets
Although the president told the governors “you’re going to call your own shots” early in the week,  he didn’t mean he wouldn’t have a lot to say about those shots. As protesters gathered to protest not gathering in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia, the President tweeted in support  “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!”

A reporter wonders if these tweets are fomenting rebellion, and how how does that square with the sober guidance the task force issued just yesterday? The president says no, no, there’s no fomenting, those governors are essentially getting it wrong by being too tough. “What they’ve done with respect to the Second Amendment it’s a HORRIBLE thing,” the president shudders.

Just to be clarify, a reporter asks, “Should those states lift their shelter in place orders, then?” The president says there are elements that are “too much”.  Any worries those protesters jammed up against each other are going to spread the virus,? “No these are people expressing their views, they seem to be very responsible people to me,” the president says.

Neither the Minnesota governor nor the woman from Michigan had a response to president Trump’s LIBERATE! tweets, but Governor Cuomo more than made up for them. Today’s daily presser might as well have been called “Trump Roast Edition” for the expert way the governor trolled our thin-skinned president, enumerating all of the resources the state is still short on.

“We need masks, gowns, ventilators, face shields, testing agents. They’re all made in China! These are national security issues. How is it the federal government, Illinois, Italy, South Korea, New York, Michigan – how are all of us going to China to buy supplies?” he asks the reporters, the universe, a preparedness-loving nation. His tone implies a kind of mild “I just don’t get it” designed to raise the blood pressure of the easily aggravated to the danger zone.

Later in the day, President Trump attempts to return Governor Cuomo’s serve: “Requests were made far beyond what was objectively needed, we were hearing from a certain state (ding! Cuomo dig) in one case they wanted 40,000 but it turns out they needed a lot less and we got it just about right.” Aced it.

Back to Cuomo: “”I have said repeatedly that when we were fighting for additional capacity for hospital beds, the president moved very quickly and I applauded him.  He’s wrong to say it hasn’t been used, to dismiss the 800+ we have treated there is disrespectful.”

“He seems to be suggesting that the state made a request that wasn’t valid,” Governor Cuomo continues, expertly setting up his shade: “He should read his own reports. The projections were high, and they were the president’s projections.  They’re your projections Mr. President, so, were we foolish for relying on your projections, Mr. President?” It was that second Mr. President that was really egregious, all delivered with a perfectly straight face.

Anyway, you’re not even making the right boast, the governor taunts the president, saying his line should be “Yes we built 2900 plus beds because the projections said it would be that bad, and because we worked together we flattened the curve.”  There is a well known study in social science that shows people prefer situations in which they are doing relatively better than the Jones, vs. doing objectively better compared to their own past.

 “I said thank you thank you thank thank you. What am is supposed to do, send a bouquet of flowers?”

~Governor Cuomo

“Let’s be honest it was always up to the states, what are you gong to do grant me what the constitution gave me before you were born?” asks Governor Cuomo. “I don’t need the President of the US to tell me the powers of the state – Thomas Jefferson and James Madison gave that power, I don’t need the president to do that for me.”

The president tweeted “The States have to step up their TESTING!

Cuomo says incredulously “You’re going to say this monumental task is up to the individual states?” His tone says fuggedaboudit.

“Thank you for the Javits, for the navy ship Comfort which is just doing your job as president, it’s not as if you wrote a check yourself, but thank you,” says the governor.  “But we need help on testing and we need funding. If it’s up to the states, then provide the funding.”

“Why don’t you show as much consideration to the states as you do  to the airlines?”

~Governor Cuomo

Maybe because it was Friday, the end of a long and and marginally not-as-terrible week, but the governor couldn’t resist helping himself to slice after slice of Trump Roast. “A map of the United States is not a puzzle, those lines are called states and those states have constitutional power,” he says. And: “The colonies create the government, not the other way, and there’s your introduction to Constitutional theory for you.” he finishes with a laugh that is felt rather than heard.

The president is watching the press conference, a reporter informs Governor Cuomo. He’s tweeting at the governor to start working and stop complaining. The governor says If he’s sitting home and watching TV maybe he should get up and get to work, eh?  The coup de grace is bound for meme-dom:

“All he’s doing is walking in front of the parade.”  ~Governor Cuomo

On Thursday, they talked about what is needed for states to meet gating criteria before phase one, but on Friday it’s clear that was just happy talk when the vice president reveals all the states have already met the gating criteria, assuring  us there is enough testing for every state to start phase one of the Great Re-Opening.  He says this twice, prefacing himself the first time with “Let me be clear” and the second time with “Let me repeat that”.

Then Dr. Fauci got up and, I think (but am still not sure  because despite all the talk of clarity, there is still enough indirect phrasing to make it hard to know exactly what the situation is vs. what it will soon be, should be or is expected to be) contradicted the Vice President, who I’m sure would call this ‘clarification’, either way what has become clear is that each state has the capability to test at a level that does, or will meet the requirements for Phase One of the Great Re-Opening.

He soothes our feelings of cognitive dissonance by addressing the problems he knows and we know have roiled the task force response from the beginning. “There is no doubt we had a problem early on – there was a problem that had to be corrected and it was corrected, and now we embrace the private sector that clearly has the ability to make and provide the test at the levels we’re speaking about.” (Aside: reader, remember: always lead with what everyone already knows. Acknowledging that is your first step towards being believed – it worked for Dr. Fauci and it will work for you.)  To wit:

“There is existing capacity that we have, but for one reasons or another it has not be communicated, For what we need now, with better communications we will be able to make that happen. If these things are done correctly we will have and there will be enough tests to take this country safely to the next level, Phase One.”

~Dr. Fauci

Reader, I just have to say it’s great every time Dr. Fauci takes the podium, you always know by the time he finishes, you’ll understand more/better. I don’t know if it is my imagination but it seems while Dr. Fauci talks the Vice President and the President hover just off his elbows, closer than usual, as if ready to jump in. Dr. Fauci doesn’t say “just a spoonful of data helps the reassurance go down”, but that is what he delivers and it is balm to this social scientist’s heart.

Dr. Fauci says “I apologize if I’m repeating myself but sometimes that  can helpful for people to have clarity on what we’re talking about” and I wish he hadn’t said that, because I think the level of repetition Mike Pence engages can be substantially reduced, and now he’ll think repeating the Air Bridge numbers over and over serves some public good.

Dr. Fauci explains the difference between testing for the presence of the virus and the absence of the virus, and that testing is important but just one tool in the epidemiology toolbox. Dr. Redfield of the CDC shows us some of those other tools in the form of charts and the task force is now in total nerd territory, with histograms of the monitoring systems already in place tracking influenza-like illnesses (IRIs). There is a lot of talk ABOUT contact tracing, but no one has actually provided a specific example of how it would work, or even how it has worked (surely people with viral or flu illnesses have been contact traced in the US before?)

There is a map of CDC Embedded Field Staff, that seems like something M would review with James Bond. The power point slide employs headers and footers with the same bland corporate professionalism  of any Fortune 50 company. The header shows a tiny US flag.  The footer reads “The White House”.

There is another map of the US with a scatterplot of testing platform capacity overlaid. Most of the dots skew to the east coast, with a few clusters in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, and big open spaces in the west.  Another chart shows a histogram of confirmed daily cases in NOLA …a place where they have 27 tests per one thousand people, as compared to Italy which as done about 20 tests per one thousand. I’m not sure why NOLA testing rates are being held up as a standard -it would seem to be South Korea and Taiwan are better exemplars. Nonetheless, we are shown a map of the US with a key, states are shaded based on testing capacity. Unfortunately the map key is all in shades of red, making the entire United States of America look like it was coated with blood.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue thanks the president in his drawling accent for standing by the folks in the food supply chain and for the new USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program which entails direct payments of $19B farmers, ranchers and producers. I am relieved when he tells us, with $3 billion they will purchase food to distribute to Americans in need, which will also stop producers from dumping milk and produce. I bet if he says where the fields are where those farmers are just dumping millions of onions and zucchinis, Americans would drive over and pick them up, bring your own bag.

“We’re past the peak, we’re starting our life again, we’re starting rejuvenation of our economy again.”  ~President Trump

During the reporter cage match, There is talk about the rumor that a Level 4 lab in Wuhan was the source of the outbreak, an intern infecting her boyfriend. The reporter that tees up this question flashes a million dollar smile and helpfully provides the information that the NIH under Obama in 2015 gave $3.7m to them. Why? she asks. Trump asks, hmm who was president back then?  Then says, we’re looking at it, it seems to make sense, if you can believe this, that’s what we’re down to looking at bats. We instructed if any grants go to that area we will end that.

“It came from China,” the president muses. “One hundred eighty four countries are suffering because of that, and it’s too bad and it could have been solved really very easily when it was just starting.” The momentum to scapegoat China and the WHO have clearly gained momentum in the past week.

The president suggests a payroll tax is the single best thing the country could do now, and he’d like to see it. He’s brought this up four or five times in the past weeks, so I fully expect a bold announcement in the next month or so.

When a reporter asks about the Payroll Protection Program and how it ran out of money already, the president snaps “How about the Obama website, they should have built that for peanuts.”

But some of the recipients have been dead, one reporter points out.

“Sometimes people are listed, they die, they get a check,” the president shrugs. “They’ve done a fantastic job and made only a tiny amount of mistakes.”

Will he resume his rallies, the president is asked. “We can do rallies, it’s a tremendous way to get the word out. We win where we have rallies, our success rate is unparalleled, there is nothing like that,” says the President. He then brags for awhile how big his rallies are, claiming at one venue they were turning away 20,000 and even 30,000 people.

We’re watching very closely if we something bad we’re going to come down very very strong, we have a lot to say beyond what anyone understands.

~President Trump

Verbal tics
After a few weeks of daily briefings you start becoming accustomed to the players and notice the personal style (I’m looking at you, Dr. Birx scarf wardrobe) and verbal tics that define them. The president likes to say “the likes of which no one has ever seen before” and “the greatest economy in the history of the world.”  Mike Pence likes to say “I want to assure the American people” and the word ‘flow’ instead of ‘provide’ or ‘send’.  He also uses “resource” as a verb a lot. Dr. Birx talks in public health official jargon as understatedly colorful and flexible as her scarves (today’s is a pretty green tied off to the side): the mosaic of testing, the exquisite monitoring that needs to occur. Today she says a word that sounds like frontum and I look it up but there is no word frontum, so maybe I misheard or she just misspoke “frontal”.  She often conjugates words in a way I haven’t heard of, e.g.  when she talks about tracking syndromic emergency type visits and sentinel surveillance. You can picture her at the front of a college classroom, or as the  keynote speaker at a major conference, which are both undoubtedly part of her future.  She also calls out Next Slide a lot as she speaks, leading me to wonder why they won’t just give her the remote slide advancer, is it possible they don’t have one? At least the person advancing slides today is quicker on the uptake, but amusingly, the camera shows only the slide as the speakers speak, so that we hear the disembodied voices of the task force members while staring at the same three bullet points for upwards of ten minutes, which only serves to highlight how mostly disconnected the speech is from the visuals. Clearly, we are watching a pastiche of slides that the speakers determined they could speak to, and not slides created for the occasion.

You only wish you knew

I wish I could tell you stories of what powerful countries say to me, they say it quietly and off the record but they have great respect for what we can do.

~President Trump

Just as every presser has a vestibule, each ends with a grand summation statement that if you listen closely you can hear contains the crisp fabric snap of a flag in a 4th of July breeze:

“We’re getting closer to the future we are waiting for, we’re getting close to seeing that light shining very brightly at the end of the tunnel,” says our president.

(Reader, let’s just hope it’s not a train, with the words “should have tested more” emblazoned on the engine.)

“Together we will rebuild this land that we love, reclaim the magnificent  destiny that we share, and carry our nation forward to new heights of greatness and glory.”   ~President Trump

Wile E. Coyote wins oneIn other news, the dramatic changes in human habits have enticed formerly shy and elusive creatures into the open. Lions were spotted in South Africa snoozing all over the roads in feline ideograms, either soaking up the warmth of the asphalt pavement or celebrating the end of man and the rise of the Big Cat Era, who knows.  There are viral videos of this  groundhog standing up and steadily munching a slice of pizza in front of two dogs staring indignantly from behind a door. And in a potential portent of the apocalypse, the roadrunner’s luck ran out, as the picture of a coyote carrying one in its jaws circles the internet. It remains to be seen if it has as many lives as Wile E. Coyote. Meep meep.

Good News: A funny friend posted “rules of the coronavirus” that perfectly sums up all the contradictory information we are barraged with, that makes the repetition of “just follow the guidelines to stop the thread” seem so unintentionally hilarious. It’s simple really:

  1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.
  2. Masks are useless, but maybe if you have to wear one, it can save you. Although it is useless, it may be mandatory as well.

See past entries in Coronavirus Event

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