Masked Up, Ready to Go (Nowhere)

[Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

You’ve probably heard the U.S. Center for Disease Control is expected to reverse its position on the public wearing masks a little over a month after this meltdown on February 29:

The CDC’s reversal on policy is a result of several things, though one of the biggest issues is a push to get everyone ready to go back to their workplaces at the end of April. There’s resistance to going any longer than that, based on U.S. for Care’s Andy Slavitt on Twitter last night, attributing this deadline to governors (but I think we know it’s not the governors who are pressing for an end to Stay Home orders).

I have no idea how parents with kids out of school will handle this; we need some sort of an exemption for parents to continue to work at home if they have children who would have been in school into June but whose schools have now closed for the rest of the school year.

I also think it’s too soon to lift the Stay-Home orders given how goddamned sloppy states like Florida have been in executing them. Spring breakers were still congregating this past week in some southern states which means these stupid fools who were exposed will travel home, get sick in 2-3 weeks, infect others during that time and a mini-wave of successive infections will follow that.

Anyhow…the CDC has acknowledged the larger role respiratory droplets play in infection. Many anecdotes from community acquired infections support this. From CDC:

“COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person in respiratory droplets from someone who is infected. People who are infected often have symptoms of illness. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.”

There are two studies about viability of the virus causing COVID-19 on surfaces; the researchers also noted the hang time of aerosolized virus and its viability. This study is cited most often:

van Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH, et al. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1
March 17, 2020. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973

The active virus could hang in the air for as long as 3 hours according to this study, from which we can infer the exhalations of infected persons carrying the virus will also hang about.

This study found the respiratory material from infected patients could cover objects and surfaces all over a room:

Ong SWX, Tan YK, Chia PY, et al. Air, Surface Environmental, and Personal Protective Equipment Contamination by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) From a Symptomatic Patient.
JAMA. Published online March 04, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.3227

While not about the virus underlying COVID-19, this paper discusses the exhaled infectious material and how far it spreads — nice graphics included, a nice read:

Bourouiba L. Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions: Potential Implications for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19.
JAMA. Published online March 26, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4756

Science writer Ed Yong at The Atlantic tries to summarizes everything in his article, Everyone Thinks They’re Right About Masks: How the coronavirus travels through the air has become one of the most divisive debates in this pandemic.

Yong notes as I have that countries which use masks more regularly — like Japan — have had lower rates of COVID-19. But these countries also were more aggressive about dealing with containment much earlier.

Need more perspectives? Molecular biologist Sui Huang of Institute for Systems Biology in Washington state has an overview in support of mask wearing at Medium; science writer Ferris Jabr has a pro-mask article at WIRED.

This DIY Cloth Face Mask page at Instructables has not only information to sew your own mask but discussion about wearing masks and filters in them. The page is changing fairly often because of feedback — it didn’t have filter information in February.

It’s important to think about masks not just as protection for yourself. It’s possible some of us have already had asymptomatic cases and may even be contagious as I type this. Wearing a mask can protect others.

In Asia wearing a mask is also seen as a sign of respect for others’ well-being. Americans have had a skewed perspective about masks and have until now viewed them negatively when worn outside health care settings as a hallmark of illness. We’re going to have to change that.

Because I’m in the at-risk group due to my autoimmune disorder, I have to wear a mask. Family members with heart disease and diabetes likewise need to wear masks. I’ve sewn my own for myself and family members alike. While the first masks I sewed for us were two-layer cotton, I’m now making another batch with non-woven poly fiber — baby wipes and cleaning wipes are just two examples of this fabric in use around us all the time. The non-woven poly inside a reusable fabric mask can reduce the amount of material shed or inhaled by the wearer beyond what two layers of cotton fabric can limit.

If you choose to wear a mask, leave surgical masks and N95 to health care professionals because shortages of these commercial masks are severe and likely won’t be relieved for more than a month. Make your own instead. There are plenty of How-To and DIY instructions out there for sewn and non-sewn masks.

If you do wear a reusable fabric mask, make sure to shut your eyes and hold your breath when taking a used mask off because it will have collected potentially infectious material. Immediately wash it thoroughly in hand soap and water — the soap is all that’s needed to deactivate any virus. Then wash your face and then hands carefully, again with soap and water. Rinse your mask well with water and hang to dry or put the mask in the wash with your other laundry.

If you see somebody at the grocery store picking up milk while wearing a mask, it might be me. I’ll be going nowhere else even with a mask long after April 30 except for the occasional but necessary venture out to pick up groceries.

155 replies
  1. alfredlordbleep says:

    Of course, the traditional reference is— all dressed up and nowhere to go
    (said of a decked out figure in a coffin)

  2. Geoguy says:

    Good post as always. I would only note that knitted fabrics shouldn’t be used for DIY masks. They stretch under pressure opening the spaces between the fibers.

    • Rayne says:

      Very good point. I think knit fabric masks are an option when nothing else is available — it’s very easy to cut them from t-shirts (video). But it’s also easy to cut two, layer them on top of each other and sandwich a piece of non-woven fabric in between. Rinse out a cleaning or baby wipe well, allow to dry, and put between two knit layers if absolutely necessary. We do have to acknowledge some people who are low on resources will need options like this.

      • blueedredcounty says:

        My sister is a retired nurse and was visiting me here in San Diego. She made masks out of old t-shirts, based on one of the DIY instruction sites a commenter mentioned on an earlier post.

        For the extra filter layer in the middle, she experimented with paper coffee filters soaked in salt solution and dried, which was recommended by another researcher. Sorry, I have not been able to get back to this site to post a link, although my sister was able to find it a week after I had read it.

        She flew home to Ohio on Tuesday and is in self-quarantine there. She wore her mask for the entire trip. I am hoping for good results for her and that she wasn’t exposed in transit.

        Also on the brighter side, the bar chart for San Diego looks to me like our curve is being flattened. I think there was a surge because of mass stupidity the weekend of 3/21, with crowded beaches and hiking trails.

        • Ruthie says:

          Just made masks today, with a pocket for adding extra filtration in case I figured out what we could use. From reading about the topic, it appears there’s a trade off between effectiveness and breathability. Coffee filters sound like a good choice, so thanks for the idea.

          • joejim says:

            I’ve made one by ripping off a cotton turtleneck. You can stuff bits of the wrecked turtleneck pieces alongside your nose, and you can put as many layers under it as you want. Everything holds in place at least long enough for a pharmacy run if you don’t mess with it, or you can sew the pieces in.

            My peeve: I need to walk, I’m visibly elderly and I’m sick of being angry at joggers.

            I guess they think that because they’re going fast or high on endorphins that it is okay if they get closer than guidelines. But they are dripping with sweat and blasting air all over the place.

            The streets are empty, so if they see someone in their path, they could just dance off the damn sidewalk as they pass. Its what I end up doing, to get out of their way, when I am far, far, less limber.

    • P J Evans says:

      They could be used as a (more comfortable?) lining for a woven fabric, or as interfacing.

  3. Doug Fir says:

    Acting US Prez yesterday on Twitter:

    “We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. “P Act” all the way. Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing – will have a big price to pay!”

    3M says they will not bow to pressure to divert to the US masks ordered by Canada and Latin America.

    Globalization works both ways: We’re gonna cut off the flow of maple syrup! Your domestic producers will be happy but the consumers will be up in arms! Also an embargo on hockey pucks, sticks and players. Take that, Mr President!


    • Raven Eye says:

      Once again, Trump shows that, as much as he touts — and bends over for — American industry, he has no clue when it comes to using the DPA. Weeks ago (more than a month ago?), he could have used DPA authorities to ease the uncertainty for manufacturers by engaging with them (through RFIs and RFPs) to meet assured production requirements.

      In some cases the federal government may need to direct industry (command economy?), but Trump and his stooges totally failed to give them an opportunity to do the right thing through a more normal procurement process.

      • Raven Eye says:

        Meanwhile, I’m heading out to drop off (in a special bin) 18 face shield headbands (with visors). It takes around 8 1/2 hours to 3D print a pair of them, so we just keep whittling away at it. The simple head bands (no visor) are now being injection molded locally. It takes around 20-25 seconds each, instead of 2 hours each by 3D printing.

        There is also a group that is making hospital approved mask kits, which are then delivered to a group of seamsters for assembly. I think some of them are laid off wardrobe people from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

        • P J Evans says:

          I saw a story about a woman and her mother making special masks for Deaf/hearing impaired people: they have a clear plastic window so the mouth area is visible. (Expression matters, even if lipreading doesn’t happen.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Showman Trump does not have to hit anybody “hard.” That’s political theater. All he has to do is use the DPA to order companies to do what he wants – stop making A, for example, make B, and ship it to C by X for Y price. That gives those companies the legal basis they need to do it. It gives them the legal basis not to do what they had already wanted or committed to do.

      What Trump can also do without using the command economy tool of the DPA (a power demanded by every other “wartime” president), is to stop his USG from delivering goods it already owns to private sellers, which the latter then resell at “market” prices during a global bidding war. That amounts to taxpayers subsidizing private profit. Bad enough anytime, during a pandemic, it kills people.

      Trump has the ready-made power to do both. Right now. He chooses to do neither. That puts the consequences on his back, and on the backs of every patron, Cabinet member, administration official, and politician who immunizes him from the consequences.

      • Tom says:

        Trump isn’t a “wartime” President and he’s not fighting any kind of war. (I gather you don’t think so either, EoH, hence your use of quotation marks.) The COVID-19 virus is not a sentient being who can plan strategy and tactics. It has no political goals or territorial ambitions. There are no rules of engagement that can be applied to it, nor can Trump negotiate a ceasefire with it or bring it to the table to negotiate a settlement. Rather, the current pandemic is a natural disaster on a global scale and that should be the context for judging Trump’s job performance. The COVID-19 pandemic will eventually subside, but the President should not be allowed to declare a military-style victory when that happens. It is not an “enemy” Trump is confronting, but his own responsibilities as President, which he is manifestly failing to carry out. The pattern for his current behaviour can be seen in his response to Hurricane Maria in 2017–slow to respond, minimizing the disaster, blaming others, and politicizing the relief effort.

        • Yogarhythms says:

          Rayne, et al,
          Great post masking pandemic topic. Now the bad news. In a war a nation rallies around it’s leader. US is gagging behind mask of Covid 19 pandemic. Pandemic started far far away now on our soil hundreds of thousands will either die or suffer devastating long lasting tissue loss too lungs. So with mounting and sustained mass casualties through 3NOV2020. Can we convince a majority to change leadership during a pandemic masked as war?

          • BobCon says:

            LBJ would like a word about that nation rallies idea.

            Truman’s approval rating dropped to 22% during the last year of the Korean War and led to him declining a final attempt at reelection.

            Historians think Lincoln was at serious risk of losing in 1864 until Sherman took Atlanta in September. Lincoln faced a split in the Republican party until John Fremont withdrew shortly after Atlanta was captured. Lincoln was also opposed by prominent Republicans Salmon Chase and Horace Greely.

            Souring public opinion during the Iraq War almost sunk GW Bush’s reelection.

            • Badger Robert says:

              If it is like a war, the enemy is here on US soil. Its shutting down the economy. The virus won’t retreat or surrender. It will just become an invisible insurgency, until people start arguing about not taking the vaccine. There is no way to win.

    • Quebecois says:

      I drizzled a tad of maple syrup on my banishment birthday smoked meat pizza earlier on. Yummy. Don’t mess with the sugar makers!

    • e.a.f. says:

      Never underestimate our good looking PM. While a mear MP a charity boxing match was organized between him and a Conservative senator who did have a rep as a brawler. Trudeau went the distance. Watched. After that I never doubted the kid would win the leader of the Liberals or the two elections. He is tough. Much tougher than the excuse for a leader in Washington.
      As the death rate mounts in the USA people won’t care what trump says. The masks will help but at this rate I do not see an overall improvement in the Usa. It makes me sad beyond words what is happening in the USA

  4. Rapier says:

    The moment I first saw the NY Times heavily featured stories advising the public to not wear masks I thought that it was propaganda designed with a sort of higher purpose in mind. That being to keep the public from further decimating supplies. I still think that. Same goes for the Surgeon General. Any other explanation involves stupidity.

    I cannot imagine any other reason for this ‘advice’. I am fully aware that Japanese mask use, so commonly seen for years in pictures, is about preventing the spread to others. This mindfulness and their cultures general cleanliness is going to serve them well. Time will tell how well with their lack of testing and distancing.

    At any rate if I am right about this misinformation being false propaganda for a higher purpose, you make the call. For the Surgeon General. For the NY Times. Should either have made and repeated the calls for the public not to wear masks?

    • ducktree says:

      IMHO ~ That the Surgeon General has hung and swung that big clanging brass gong of a lie that masks would somehow NOT protect anyone but the health care workers cannot now unring that big brass gong.

  5. P J Evans says:

    Supermarket run this morning. About half the people inside were masked – both employees and customers.

  6. harpie says:

    March 19, 2020 TRUMP: “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work.” “The Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”


    Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.

    When state, local, tribal and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.

    April 2, 2020 TRUMP: “The states should have [been] building their stockpiles … we’re a backup. We’re not an ordering clerk.” – Trump [VIDEO] [link in next comment]

    April 2, 2020 KUSHNER: “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states stockpiles that they then use.” [VIDEO] [link in next comment]

    [see link above]

    The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.

  7. OldTulsaDude says:

    Because testing is insufficient to determine who is infected, masks offer a prophylactic to prevent infected from accidentally spreading virus when they breath or talk, whistle or shout, hail a cab or yell at the neighbor’s dog. Trouble with masks, people wearing masks will assume they are safe because of the mask – and they are not.

    • blueedredcounty says:

      No, it does not make you safe, it only reduces risk.

      The only way to know I have been exposed is if I get sick. Because testing. :( I reset the clock in my head for my exposure each time I leave my house.

      A friend invited me for dinner tonight. We have both been working from home for over two weeks, with only trips out for shopping or takeout. I declined, because he is high-risk (he has asthma) and I don’t want to risk exposing him if I am asymptomatic.

    • P J Evans says:

      I figure the mask is so that I lower the risk to other, if I’m asymptomatic. (I don’t think I have it – but how would I know without symptoms?)

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        Exactly. I’ve read those without symptoms and mild symptoms could be as high as 25% of the cases, while the first 7-10 days of infection is the time with the highest viral shed.

        • P J Evans says:

          I’ve been staying home and inside, minimizing my contacts with others. It’s annoying, sometimes. I may go out tomorrow for hair elastics for masks (and more food, probably.)

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    What happened to that CARE package Vladimir Putin was reported to have flown to the US. Did Trump stash it in the cellar of the Trump International or the White House, distribute it to coronavirus hot zones, or sell it for a song to private resellers?

    • P J Evans says:

      Maybe it went to Florida. (I’ve heard it isn’t useful stuff, but Trmp wouldn’t know.)

  9. vvv says:

    “I don’t know if Jared Kushner knows, but this is the United States of America”. – J. B Prizker, IL govenor
    “I believe that the governor just showed incredible restraint.” – Lori Lightfoot, Chgo. mayor

    Gotta shout out, these leaders, IMO, are excellent – giving a presser right now about McCormick Place conversion to C-19 facility.

      • Fran of the North says:

        Surely you know that the only permissible reason to use eminent domain is if the property in question is preventing profitable real estate development, right? Like say, to build a wall or a fence or something?

        Certainly not to provide a common good. Why that would be downright socialist.

        • Rayne says:

          I hate it when national security is a perfectly good and legitimate reason to take a hotel and then nobody does it.

          ADDER: I’m imagining both Pritzker and Lightfoot telling Trump, “But Don, we’re cutting your taxes like you wanted.” LOL

          • vvv says:

            (I mis-spelled, “Pritzker” also.) Just wanna say I have no doubt that the idea occurred to them (Pritzker & Lightfoot). In fact, they are renting up to 1,000 hotel rooms at, I think, 1.25M/day to house homeless and 1st responders and medical personnel who need isolation. Great for that, and pragmatically a good thing to keep the hotel workers employed as they will be doing meals, etc. I hope none of that rental is from any Trump property, but I don’t know (many are owned by the Oxford group, ex., the Essex).
            As well they are re-opening, I believe 4 hospitals in the Chi metro area and 1 downstate Springfield, besides using the McCormick Place convention center, which itself is to be 3,000 beds.
            Perhaps of interest to basketball fans, the United Center, is to be a “food and logistics hub” for the response.

  10. Tracy Lynn says:

    A friend kindly emailed me a link to this website that gives instructions on how to do a no-sew mask with a scarf and 2 hair ties. http:// blog.japanesecreations. com/no-sew-face-mask-with-handkerchief-and-hair-tie (broke the link in a couple of places.)

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve been wondering if that style would work with 16-inch men’s handkerchiefs – they come in sixes at Target, and would easily fold.

      • e.a.f. says:

        I’m just going to get s burka. Take it off at the front door wash later and will keep virus off of my clothes
        Keeps me safe. Will out rage othersl

  11. Lex says:

    One possible addition to homemade masks would also be furnace filter material. Much of it is electrostatic – a hallmark of N95/HEPA filters. Bulk rolls for the cradle furnace filters are available and the material is “felt” like in thickness/density. Not sure how it would stand up to being washed, but someone above mentioned seeing a pocket in for changing out filter material.

    • P J Evans says:

      Biggest problem is that those don’t have good breathability – they’re made to work with mechanical fans, not human lungs.

  12. P J Evans says:

    Ivey has issued a stay-home order:
    Takes effect 5pm tomorrow.
    The order allows travel:
    — To obtain necessary supplies;
    — To obtain or provide necessary services;
    — To attend religious services of 10 people or fewer or drive-in religious services;
    — To provide care to others;
    — To work an essential business …
    — To engage in outdoor activity involving 10 or fewer people;
    — To seek shelter if their residence is unsafe, or to seek help from providers like food banks;
    — To travel as required by law
    — To see family members.

    Also a list of essential businesses, including some that may not really be essential.

  13. eliascalles says:

    here in my part of mexico (lots of snorkeling here) we are converting full face snorkel makes (the new one piece kind) . I have been converting them using the cartridge filter holders from painting respirators (drop in type) and adding other materials to the filter holders (cotton fabric and/or hepa vacuum bag material). We hope to make enough to provide to front line medical staff as our local systems are ill equipped. I know in usa now it can be hard to find certain kinds of masks, but maybe these types of snorkel masks are still to be found. note these are the newer, one piece type where you do not put a snorkel in the mouth. there has been some international press about conversion of these masks for use with ventilators using 3d printed adapters as well.

    • e.a.f. says:

      In Canada the Brauer hockey equipment company is now making masks for health workers. It’s working nicely and I don’t think we’re going to be playing hockey with that 6 ft seperation thing like. Perhaps a series of shoot outs but that would be boring with no audience

  14. Max404 says:

    After the WH presser a few days ago in the Rose Garden, the one with the hairpiece comment, I decided to skip it for a while. To get a little perspective.

    I went back today. The distance of a few days was useful. The questions are more pointed, the questioners more aggressive.

    Azar just validated Medicare for All Who Want It, and uninsured citizens are the first in line, hospitals will be paid Medicare rates and are forbidden to bill anything more.

    I think Trump’s head is going to explode, one of these days, very soon. Or perhaps the whole body will, like Mr. Creosote in Monty Python The Meaning of Life.

    Sadly, not before we were subjected to the comment “I don’t do models, or at least this kind of model ( move hand up to down swinging to indicate curvaceous female figure )”.

    Please, explode.

    • BobCon says:

      Large swaths of official Washington is in denial about how precarious his hold is going to be over the next few months.

      I would feel a lot better if Pelosi was openly talking about accellerated plans to conduct hearings and votes remotely. There may be a crisis, or a push to vet and approve a new VP, and waiting until members can return to DC to get to work is a mistake.

  15. TomVet says:

    Rayne, I just put a link on twitter cc’d to you. I couldn’t copy the link w/o linking the embedded video here.
    It shows micro droplet dispersion in air very well.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A lawyer from the WH GC’s office becoming the Coronavirus IG? Might as well give the job to Bill Barr: he’s a better cover-up artist than anyone else in government.

      And using the Friday news dump to fire the ICIG? The guy who reported to Congress about the whistleblower’s complaint that Trump was illegally strong-arming the president of Ukraine? That’s likely to become a weekly habit. With doom approaching, Trump will feel the need to act out in his trademarked vicious way. Like the links in Jacob Marley’s chain, Trump’s list of enemies is a long one. And like a Daniel Day-Lewis film, There Will Be Blood.

      Unsurprisingly, I’m disappointed in the news coverage. That Trump has the power to fire the ICIG is a collateral issue: why he is doing it and how that amounts to an abuse of power are more important. This firing will be one on a long list. Trump acts like Al Capone, suddenly put in charge of the Treasury agents that put him in prison. He doesn’t want to manage them, he wants to break them, to protect his bidness and his liberty.

  16. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you for the informative article. This afternoon a friend of mine who is one of those blondes who looks great in black sent me a photo of herself in her self made mask which covered almost to her eyes. Couldn’t stop laughing. Texted her back. The Taliban won

    For those Americans who aren’t aware of a Quebec law which prohibits the wearing of any religious symbols it just cracked me up. The Premier of Quebec doesn’t like hijabs or nihgabs so they passed the law which I wasn’t in favour of. So now here we have people rushing to cover their faces.

    I understand the seriousness of the situation but if you lived in Canada and went through the whole thing and the “pure wool” québécois this is funny. Wonder if any of the Quebec provincial cabinet will wear them

  17. Max404 says:

    Forgive me if this is not “done” here, just take down my comment. I just read this comment on the WaPo ( to their investigation of how testing went wrong, article just appeared).
    Inside the coronavirus testing failure: Alarm and dismay among the scientists who sought to help

    The poster, called Optimouse Prime, from rural Mississippi, nailed it:

    Trump would sell every one of his supporters to a Mexican drug cartel in exchange for a bucket of chicken and a copy of Swank.

    Nevertheless they will worship him nonetheless.

    I am from the rural heartland and live in Mississippi surrounded by Trump worshipers.

    I can explain.

    They will still worship Trump because they hate you more than they love America.

    More precisely, they hate the IDEA of you—-in their mind people like you are smarty-pants college boys who don’t own a hunting rifle and work at a “soft” job.

    And, to them, a smarty-pants college boy is bad because they perceive of such people as abusing knowledge to upset the received world order of Trump’s America.

    They think that the “science” that emanates from our cities should exist SOLELY to make the internet, Viagra, and Twitter and that if a scientist ALSO says “climate change is real and evolution explains biodiversity!” then that scientist is not doing their TRUE job which, to their mind, is to specialize only in making the life of the average person more convenient by inventing gadgets that allow them to have the benefits of modernity without ever having to question its source.

    They hate you because the assume that anyone who doesn’t worship Trump as they do is a lunatic-fringe campus protester who demands safe spaces even though most of you are moderate centrists who rightly think Trump is stupid.

    They imagine that you are the kind of person who spits on the flag (even though you do not do this) and that you must ALWAYS prove your patriotism to them even though most of them define “patriotism” as “hating people who live in cities and read.”

    And they hate the idea of you because they imagine some sort of “traditional America” where boys wore pants and girls wore dresses and where blacks were grateful daily that a guy like them didn’t shoot them and they perceive you as a threat to this kind of society because you watched “Friends” instead of “Walker: Texas Ranger.”

    It really is that simple.

    • Vicks says:

      Dictator 101
      “Rally around a common enemy”
      These folks didn’t just wake up and decide who to hate, politicians having been choosing their “enemies” for them since the beginning.
      Trump has simply decided to turn it into entertainment.
      Only the stable genius had the foresight to see how whipping up his audience and than pointing to specific targets would translate to such high ratings.

    • Re entry says:

      Bill Hicks was eating breakfast whilst reading in a Waffle House in the South when someone asked him-

      “what’re you reading for?” and he wondered why they put ‘for’ at the end of the sentence.

  18. diggo says:

    “back to work at the end of April” ?? seriously?

    Sorry folks, this is NOT gonna be over anytime soon. Be prepared to stay indoors at home for 6 months or more.

    • e.a.f. says:

      Might cut down on human caused forest fires this spring. It’s already reduced the number of car accidents so substantially in BC the government is looking at reducing premiums. Yes not only we have government health care. We have government car insurance. It’s called ICBC or Insurance Corp of British Columbia. Had it since early 1970s

    • P J Evans says:

      California’s stay-home order is for an indefinite period. (I figure at least through May.)

      • blueedredcounty says:

        My company has been ahead of the curve for office closings and working remotely. We had to close a Washington office early, because of its proximity to one of the original hot spots. We officially switched the entire company to work-from-home effective 3/11. The return-to-office date has been pushed back three times, and is tentatively set for early May.

        My concern is what everyone else’s is…how bad is the surge going to be as we start to relax restrictions.

  19. Molly Pitcher says:

    I just stumbled across this genius way to make a no sew mask with a bandana/scarf and two hair elastics !! This will be much better for Mr Pitcher and Mr Pitcher Jr who are both rather tall gentlemen. The masks I have purchased up until now won’t cover their noses and their mouths at the same time without popping up or down. I think this is the answer !

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As nycsouthpaw notes, Trump’s abusive late-Friday night firing of ICIG Atkinson stops in its tracks anything he was working on.

    Had Trump followed the law – unlikely at any time – he should have given Congress thirty days notice, which would have allowed Atkinson to wrap up and hand-off whatever he had been working on. So, was Trump just viciously acting out against his “impeachers,” or spiking something new?

    • Tom says:

      This action seems to show what’s really on Trump’s mind, and it’s not the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The sad truth is that Donald Trump has the empathy of a golf ball, and he’s a lot more vicious. Half of NYC could fall in its tracks, felled by alien disruption of their nervous systems, and Trump wouldn’t give a shit. He would only worry about what it would do to rental values.

      Getting anything productive done will require working around him. It will require working around his drive to get even and to make matters worse, so that his manifest failings appear normal.

      As for his political future and that of the party that backs him to the hilt, Never Again.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Pure spite. I think Pelosi should immediately hire him as “Whistleblower Czar”. I’m fine if she “accidentally” refers to him as “Witch-hunt Czar” every now and then.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Agreed. But wouldn’t she consider that too confrontational? Regardless, there’s a helluva lot of new oversight this crisis demands that Congress engage in. Time to start doing it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Some reporting has Trump giving Atkinson thirty days to clean out his desk. I suspect that’s false.

      Trump put Atkinson “on leave” for thirty days, presumably to dodge the thirty day notice requirement to Congress. Technically, he won’t be fired until that time runs. But it does not mean Atkinson has access to his office or can work to wrap up anything already on his desk, let alone handle anything new.

      In effect, Trump is trying to shut down the ICIG’s function by disrupting it. In the midst of a global epidemic and a massive further executive branch power grab, designed in part to reduce presidential accountability. Suggests to me Trump is hiding more shit, not just giving free rein to his need to destroy things that function better than he does.

  21. Tom says:

    If there’s increasing social pressure to wear a mask when out in public, it may cut down on the number of people going out in the community for reasons that are less than essential because, after all, who wants to wear a mask while out in public.

  22. Fran of the North says:

    I woke up this morning to an interesting thought – countervailing opinions welcome.

    While intelligent parties can discuss the various problems with the ’16 election here in the States, one that has been building for quite some time is apathy. Many didn’t make the effort (or even cast ‘protest’ votes) because it wasn’t worth the effort, and things wouldn’t change. Another perspective might be that their lives were ‘just fine’ and that there was no reason to vote for change.

    One of the reasons for the U.S. societal explosion in the ’60s was the very REAL threat that you might get drafted, head to Vietnam and come home in a body bag. That sense of personal risk has a way of focusing the mind.

    It is probably hard for almost any group of individuals worldwide to believe that their lives haven’t been materially impacted by Novel Coronavirus.

    Might we see voter interest increase and the desire for change skyrocket because ‘life is no longer fine’???

    • BobCon says:

      I think there is a huge amount of denial about how disruptive this will be.

      I constantly read people dismissively saying that Red America will back Trump no matter what. Anyone who says that, though, is ignoring what over a quarter million dead and 20% unemployment combined with an incompetent, uncaring president will mean.

      This is not the same as sticking with a guy who gives tax cuts to billionaires or locks up Guatamalan children when the border is thousand miles away from home.

      And this is not going to be over until Trump changes and gets his act together. Trump cannot change.

      This does not mean the Democrats can sit back like they did in 2008 and wait for majorities to appear. There are huge risks to being passive.

      One risk is that things will fall so far that having half of Red America voters turn on Trump won’t be enough. He may use naked political power backed by the courts, the Senate and state legislatures to rig the elections.

      Another risk is that the Democrats win but the GOP runs the 2009 playbook again, tanking the recovery and blaming mealy mouthed Democrats for the failure to clean up their mess.

      A third risk is that the GOP will buy out or even force out Trump and rally behind a strongman who wins in November. His businesses are failing — what stops him from taking a billion dollar buyout and a pardon to walk away froma job he hates?

      There is absolutely going to be a level of anger brewing that greatly exceeds 2008, and it is possible Democrats can harness it to make major, meaningful, overdue changes and heal a lot of wounds. But they — and we — cannot be passive in the face if a lot of looming risks.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I get the sense that establishment Dems want to deny that level of angst and anger rather than harness it. They’d rather go back to bidness as usual, rather than lead change. If so, it will reduce voter turnout compared to what it could be. We’ll get a better sense of that as Biden starts leaking candidates for his VP and Cabinet.

        • BobCon says:

          I would feel a lot better about Biden if he picks someone at VP who is clearly capable of being a front runner in 2024.

          I can see why Obama chose a relatively placid small state Senator in 2008 to be his insider negotiator. But Biden needs someone besides another Biden.

          The courts and the GOP senators, whether or not they maintain the majority, are going to do everything in their power to jam the Democrats, now and next year, regardless of what happens in November. I can understand the PR value of Biden acting as a stable, avuncular figure. But I also need to see signs that the Democrats are preparing for another 2009.

          • Tom says:

            I just wish the two front Democrat contenders weren’t in their later 70s, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic on the rampage. A lot can happen between now and November and it would be good if a couple of the other younger former candidates–preferably women, because I think the country will need a good deal of care and nurturing in the aftermath of all this that, frankly, I think a woman can better provide–were primed and ready to step into the breach if needed.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The last time the Dems promised hope and change after a [financial] disaster, they gave us look forward, not back and Joe Biden as VP.

          So Biden has a hill to climb. I agree that his success or failure will rest, in part, on his VP and other top nominations. It will be an augur of what he intends to do and what resources he intends to harness to do it. It will also depend on how much cheating the GOP engages in. It’s likely to be a lot.

  23. OmAli says:

    I know. Call me a conspiracy nut. Take away my tinfoil hat. But this is nagging at me. Trump projects his sins and criming onto others. He has twice implied that medical staff are stealing or selling scarce medical equipment out the back door. And Jared calls the national stockpile “OUR” stockpile, not the states’.

    Somehow, these Republican flacks turned pandemic profiteers are getting huge amounts of scarce medical supplies, that they are now selling. They have “connections” that they can’t share.

    Is it nuts to wonder if Trump and Jared have their fingers in the pie? Where are the supplies going that are being spirited away from states that think they have orders nailed down. I hope someone is doing a deep dive into this.

    Politico article : Republican Fundraiser Looks to Cash In On Coronavirus. I’m not sure how to link properly. The company is called Blue Flame.

  24. Jenny says:

    Rayne, CLEVER use of painting by Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer
    “Girl with a Pearl Earring” with a mask on (Home page). Excellent! Made me laugh.

  25. marc sobel says:

    Republican response to: “I have no idea how parents with kids out of school will handle this; we need some sort of an exemption for parents to continue to work at home if they have children who would have been in school into June but whose schools have now closed for the rest of the school year”

    What’s the problem? The nanny already works from home.

  26. Nicholas Litwin says:


    I would appreciate the name of the painting you displayed. I remember it well from my Art History class in college. One of my favorites!

  27. Nicholas Litwin says:


    Oops! I just now saw Jenny’s comment on “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. Now that I think of it, I saw a Netflix? movie/series based on this painting in the last year or so.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One was made in 2003, starring the unknown Scarlett Johansson and a young Colin Firth, based on Tracy Chevalier’s soon-to-be best selling novel.

  28. Bobster33 says:

    Last week the FAA internally announced that they will be “restarting” in May. That means that contracts put on hold restart and teleworking for certain staff will end. I don’t know any front line people who think this is even remotely achievable. Most just laughed at the aspiration.

    A couple of weeks ago, an airport shut down because one of the ATC (Airport Traffic Controllers) tested positive, and their associates refused to go into the tower. This was before the dead bodies started piling up.

  29. orionATL says:

    there will no doubt be great pressure for the medicare for all approach to be adopted in this country as a result of the epidemic. the problem of adequate coverage for all, beginning with children and their parents, must be addressed. but a monolithic system that is controlled from the top can fail from the top, as is happening now in our country with highly politicized, ignorant, vacillating leadership in key positions (white house, hhs, fda, cdc, omb). germany has evolved a different approach worth studying:

  30. P J Evans says:

    In other virus news:
    Boris Johnson is now in ICU, as his condition has worsened. (I read last night that he was on oxygen.)

Comments are closed.