More telling even than the testing and ventilator story is the politics of masks...
Billionaire Mark Cuban has been trying to do his part to help hospital workers get more protective equipment, working with a non-profit group and delving into the market himself to find gold-standard N95 respirator masks he could buy for medical personnel.
He uncovered something else instead.
What he found poking around in that marketplace is leading him increasingly to believe that respirator maker 3M Co. is shirking its duty to keep prices low and get masks where they’re needed most during a national emergency. The problem, he says, is that 3M sells the masks through a network of resellers who aren’t held accountable for raising prices and don’t have to direct their sales to hospitals.
“3M lists all its distributors online, the ones buying and selling these things, and these distributors are making as much money as they possibly can,” Cuban said in an interview. “It’s wrong, it’s criminal.” Bloomberg reports.
“This hurricane’s coming for everybody,” said Broderick Bagert, an organizer with the community organizing group Together Louisiana.
An Essay by Eric Fretz (email@example.com)
Regis University, Denver, Colorado
In these challenging times, it’s easy to give up hope, to turn away (if we have the privilege to do so) from the chaos of the world and to retreat into our own private worlds. 'The Plague' not only cautions us against doing so, it provides a road map of thought and action to help us navigate the chaos. As Camus writes toward the end of the novel, “There can be no peace without hope."
In May of 1942, Albert Camus was living near the seaside French town of Marseilles with his second wife, Francine Faure, when he was struck with a tubercular fit that left him short of breath and coughing up blood. His physician recommended he head to a drier climate, so Camus packed up his bags and, sans Francine, headed for St. Etienne, a little village in the French Alps, to recover while Francine traveled back to Oran, Algeria where the couple had previously resided.
A few months later, while Camus was recovering in the Alps and Francine was ensconced in Oran, the allied Army landed in North Africa, effectively preventing Camus and Francine from reuniting. In a letter to Francine, Camus expressed his frustration at being precluded from leaving France by declaring that the two were “[c]aught like rats!”
And it was in this exile in the French Alps that Camus began in earnest to imagine and write The Plague, a novel that since its publication in 1947, has perplexed readers and critics alike and which is doubly resonant for us today as we face both the pandemic of covid-19 as well as the continued threat of authoritarianism.
The first edition of the novel sold out quickly. Since then it’s never gone out of print, and it has been translated into at least 15 different languages. During times of high anxiety like what we are currently experiencing, it’s not unusual for The Plague to be referenced in opinion articles or for the novel to receive a resurgence of interest among readers and cultural critics.
The Plague offers a prescription and a road map on how to live our lives at moments when we stand to lose all that we value most, but stand to triumph in a certain way as well.
Together Louisiana, an advocacy group made up largely of clergy, called on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prioritize testing for New Orleans, a hotbed of the epidemic that's home to most of the state's known cases.
Broderick Bagert, an organizer with the group, noted that even with limited testing, the rate of known cases and deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in New Orleans makes the city one of the worst-hit areas of the country.
Resources - including testing capabilities - need to be steered to parts of the country battling the worst of the epidemic, including New Orleans, said Rev. Sheron Jackson, a Shreveport minister who's active in the group.
''Direct test capacity to the areas facing the worst outbreaks,'' said Jackson. ''I don't think the outbreak is the most severe in the NBA or the NFL.'' Story here.
What is the connection between a lack of commitment to collective well-being and social disaster in a time of crisis?
Why has it been so difficult for our government to give straight answers about the threat of COVID-19?
I don’t know if I have had the coronavirus (COVID-19). What I do know is that I developed pneumonia two weeks after returning to Los Angeles in early February from a visit with my wife’s family in Northern Italy.
I started feeling ill on a Friday — aches, chills and overall weakness. By Monday I was coughing. On Wednesday I was in urgent care – four days after reports that Northern Italy was experiencing a major outbreak of COVID-19. After an X-ray determined that I had pneumonia, I asked the attending doctor about being tested for COVID-19. She told me that it was “too expensive” to test everyone. Full story HERE.
100,000 have virus in Ohio; "The federal response has been a fiasco" - Ashish Jah, Harvard school of public health
Ohio health official estimates 100,00 people in state have coronavirus
"We know now, just the fact of community spread, says that at least 1 percent, at the very least, 1 percent of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today," Acton said. "We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly." Story HERE.
Have you checked with your local drug store for N95 respirators lately?
“To state it clearly, we are enduring crimes against humanity,” said Verlon M. José, the governor of the Tohono O’odham in northern Mexico and a former vice chairman of the tribal nation on the American side of the border.
“Tell me where your grandparents are buried and let me dynamite their graves,” said Mr. José, emphasizing how visceral an issue the blasting has become among O’odham-speaking peoples. “This wall is already putting a scar across our heart.” NY Times story here.
Barbara Paulsen, at right with microphone, a member of Nevadans for the Common Good, listens to Nevada gubernatorial candidate Dan Schwartz agree to support the organization's platform during a candidate program May 8, 2018 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Las Vegas. Nevadans for the Common Good is an interfaith coalition that includes the Diocese of Las Vegas and 10 Catholic parishes. (CNS photo/courtesy Nevadans for the Common Good) See IN-DEPTH-POVERTY-NEVADA Dec. 16, 2019.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Back in 2017 as hundreds of elderly Nevadans were on a waiting list for the Meals on Wheels program, Natalie Eustice and her friends at Nevadans for the Common Good learned the state was spending just 27 cents a meal for the program.
It was the lowest rate in the country -- by far -- and Eustice, a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Henderson, near Las Vegas, knew it was time for the state to boost funding so the long list could be pared down. Story by Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service here.
Coloradans for the Common Good (IAF) leaders led a Fast for Farm Workers, joined others in a press conference, and attended a public hearing asking Gov. Jared Polis to remember the farm workers and extend CO Dept. of Labor's protections to them as well.
"Every time we eat food grown by unprotected farm workers we are complicit. We consume food grown from ground fertilized by sadness, oppression and isolation." - Rabbi Evette Lutman
Colorado Independent story by Forest Wilson here.