The Gist: Bleaching and Creeping

This is hard. And it turns out, that includes for the people in charge too.

The Gist: Bleaching and Creeping

I try not to introduce too much personal elements into these things- but what I wouldn’t give for a proper desk.

Anyway, today is really about how the strains of quarantine are starting to show all over, even with the best will in the world. Or, in the case of the President of the United States, even without any good will to start with.

Trump suggests injecting bleach into your veins

That’s it. That’s the story.

Then there was the afterstory. After a day of various proxies trying to justify this homocidal intervention from Theodore Roosevelt’s bully-pulpit, and increasingly desperate pleading statements from the makers of bleach, Trump sulkily said he didn’t mean it.

That same day the US death toll from the pandemic passed 50,000.

Ireland creeping out when nobody’s looking

Not hugely, but it does look like families and workers are sneaking out more than they’re meant to. The CMO warned he wasn’t going to recommend ending the lockdown as a result. Which, on the one hand, he probably wasn’t going to anyway. But, on the other hand, we really do need to stay home.

But, on the third hand, is it a good idea to blame lockdowns on ‘other people misbehaving’ rather than ‘unhappy facts’? A leaked Government memo warned of a coming ‘divisive’ phase where social welfare supports would be reduced. Applying pre-pandemic austerity reponses to government expenditure seems like just the sort of thinking that saw Fine Gael come third in the BeforeTimes election.

Meanwhile we seem to have another creeping problem. Political machinary wants to give people what they want. People want the shutdown to end. But if it gives them that, a bunch of important people will die needlessly. So it keeps trying to tell them it will give them what they want, shortly. As time ticks on, those future dates keep coming around and new reasons for pushing them off have to be found. There’s a tension building between the political and medical sides of this project.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Chancellor Merkel has been preparing people for restrictions to carry on, warning we’re still only at the beginning.

App update: Still botched

And that, for the moment, is all we’re able to say, as the state continues its self-defeating insistance on secrecy in the one project that needs mass trust. You can read a good overview on the state of this project in Ireland from NUI Maynooth’s Prof. Rob Kitchen. And a good view from the US from Violet Blue in Engadget. And a deep report on what a trustworthy and reliable app would do from the DP-3T consortium of researchers.