Today, as a group of Texas bar owners protested against statewide lockdown orders bearing signs that read “Bar Lives Matter” and the governor of South Dakota declared an upcoming Trump event near Mount Rushmore wouldn’t require social distancing measures of masks, Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke in the Senate during a committee hearing on safely reopening the country. Essentially, the nation’s top infectious disease expert suggested, we’re fucked: “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day,” Fauci told Senator Elizabeth Warren in response to her questioning. “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.”
Fauci’s comments come during a moment when an estimated 124,000 people have died of covid-19 in the United States; when our national average of cases have been rising for 21 days straight; where such unlikely public health advocates as Mitch Mcconnell and Goldman Sachs have endorsed the widespread use of masks, at least in the interest of preserving human capital and/or our country’s GDP. Meanwhile, the United States government, in a remarkable demonstration of our dual national pastimes of greed and short-sightedness, has bought nearly the entire world’s supply of remdesivir, a drug recently approved to treat covid-19.
“They’ve got access to most of the drug supply, so there’s nothing for Europe,” Dr. Andrew Hill, a research fellow at Liverpool University, told The Guardian today.
As a reminder, remdesivir is a drug developed with the help of at least $70 million in public funding, which has been shown to shorten hospital stays but “has not been shown to reduce mortality,” according to experts—meaning the drug might save the healthcare system some cash, and alleviate overburdened ICUs, but is unlikely to save a significant number of lives.
President Trump, having claimed two days ago that “nobody briefed or told me” about the “so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians” was allegedly briefed much earlier on the situation than previously reported: According to officials who spoke to the AP, the White House was told more than a year ago that Russia was offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans. [AP]
Jeff Sessions has some predictable if somewhat nightmarish thoughts on race and policing, from a lengthy profile today in the New York Times Magazine:
“The mantra was: ‘Back to the men and women in blue,’ Sessions told me. ‘The police had been demoralized. There was all the Obama — there’s a riot, and he has a beer at the White House with some criminal, to listen to him. Wasn’t having a beer with the police officers. So we said, “We’re on your side. We’ve got your back, you got our thanks.’’’ (Asked whether this was a confused reference to the meeting Obama had with the scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who had been wrongfully arrested entering his own home, and the police officer involved in the arrest, a Sessions spokesman declined to elaborate.)”
- Bernie Sanders has signed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s letter threatening to cut U.S. military aid to Israel [Haaretz]
- In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that states giving public funds to private schools must also shell out for religious education. [AP]
- How could Susan Collins possibly have seen this coming? [New York Times]
- Joe Biden is going to release a list of Black women he’s considering as Supreme Court nominees ..... sometime soon. [Politico]
- The Supreme Court also ruled Booking.com can trademark its name (?) [AP]