ETA: thanks to dewline for providing a link to the NPR story. Added.
I'm also seeing all the photos going around of large, not-remotely-social-distanced parties and resorts. Since it's all anecdotal and I don't have time to investigate every photo I see on Twitter, I'm not going to include them here. But be aware of that, as well.
- Trump declares houses of worship ‘essential,’ pressuring governors to let them reopen
- The government has spent decades studying what a life is worth. It hasn’t made a difference in the COVID-19 crisis.
- Israeli study says that the *average* R of a bit over 2 is actually composed of a small number of superspread events where over 80% of secondary infections stem from 1-10% of the population.
- Coronavirus is spiking disproportionately in counties that voted for Trump in 2016
- NEW Research—No evidence of benefit for #chloroquine and #hydroxychloroquine in #COVID19 patients
- Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades
- Justice Department Backs Challenge To Illinois Stay-At-Home Order
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Trump declares houses of worship ‘essential,’ pressuring governors to let them reopen
The president’s order could set off a constitutional clash over one of the core tenets of the First Amendment.
By QUINT FORGEY, RACHEL ROUBEIN and MYAH WARD
05/22/2020 02:00 PM EDT
President Donald Trump on Friday commanded America’s governors to immediately reopen churches and other places of worship shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, threatening to “override” the state leaders if they refused to follow his directive.
Speaking at a previously unannounced news briefing at the White House, the president revealed that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were “issuing guidance for communities of faith,” and declared “houses of worship, churches, synagogues and mosques” to be “essential places that provide essential services.”
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” Trump told reporters. “It’s not right, so I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”
Trump emphasized he was instructing governors to allow places of worship to resume operations “right now,” and warned that “if there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me — but they are not going to be successful in that call.”
It is unclear whether the president is legally empowered to compel the nation’s governors to take such an action. If the White House moves to enforce his order in defiance of opposition by local officials, Trump could force a constitutional clash over one of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment.
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The government has spent decades studying what a life is worth. It hasn’t made a difference in the COVID-19 crisis.
May 23, 2020 at 4:14 pm Updated May 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm
By Todd C. Frankel
The Washington Post
When President Donald Trump said in late March he didn’t think the economic devastation from stay-at-home orders was a good trade off for avoiding COVID-19 deaths, tweeting, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” economists across the country already were busy working on the exact kind of cost-benefit analysis implied by the president.
They reached a very different conclusion from Trump.
Economists at the University of Wyoming estimated the economic benefits from lives saved by efforts to “flatten the curve” outweighed the projected massive hit to the nation’s economy by a staggering $5.2 trillion. Another study by two University of Chicago economists estimated the savings from social distancing could be so huge, “it is difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to American citizens.”
What these academics are doing — and what Trump’s tweet is getting at — is measuring how the extreme efforts to avoid COVID-19 deaths compare to the devastating economic fallout. They do this by putting a price tag on the deaths avoided. It’s something the federal government does all the time when deciding whether to require carmakers to install new safety features or drugmakers to add new warning labels. And it’s required by law for big-ticket new regulations, such as road safety laws and pollution controls.
But this kind of approach has been missing from the debate about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed almost 100,000 Americans and fueled historic unemployment rates.
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23 May 2020
Israeli study says that the *average* R of a bit over 2 is actually composed of a small number of superspread events where over 80% of secondary infections stem from 1-10% of the population.
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Coronavirus is spiking disproportionately in counties that voted for Trump in 2016
22 May 2020
The 2016 election may help map the next coronavirus hotspots.
While COVID-19 is finally beginning to wane in some of the U.S. cities it hit hardest and earliest, coronavirus spread is still far from its peak in most small cities and rural areas across the country. And over the past four weeks, it's been more likely that counties will show a high prevalence of coronavirus next if they voted for President Trump in 2016, an analysis by the Brookings Institution reveals.
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22 May 2020
NEW Research—No evidence of benefit for #chloroquine and #hydroxychloroquine in #COVID19 patients, urgent randomised trials are needed: finding from a large observational study of nearly 15,000 patients with #COVID19 & 81,000 controls https://hubs.ly/H0qMlXr0
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Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades
By John Hudson and Paul Sonne
May 22, 2020 at 6:32 p.m. PDT
The Trump administration has discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992 in a move that would have far-reaching consequences for relations with other nuclear powers and reverse a decades-long moratorium on such actions, said a senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the deliberations.
The matter came up at a meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies last Friday, following accusations from administration officials that Russia and China are conducting low-yield nuclear tests — an assertion that has not been substantiated by publicly available evidence and that both countries have denied.
A senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive nuclear discussions, said that demonstrating to Moscow and Beijing that the United States could “rapid test” could prove useful from a negotiating standpoint as Washington seeks a trilateral deal to regulate the arsenals of the biggest nuclear powers.
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Justice Department Backs Challenge To Illinois Stay-At-Home Order
May 22, 2020 9:48 PM ET
The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit challenging the Illinois governor's stay-at-home order. The legal maneuver marks the first time the U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on state level COVID-19 policies that are unrelated to religious matters.
The department on Friday filed a statement of interest in the case against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, saying the protective coronavirus measures in place exceed the limits of his office.
"In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Illinois has, over the past two months, sought to rely on authority under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to impose sweeping limitations on nearly all aspects of life for citizens of Illinois, significantly impairing in some instances their ability to maintain their economic livelihoods," the department said in a statement.