The official death toll in the US for Covid-19 has passed a milestone Deborah Birx predicted back in March:
In the predawn hours of March 30, Dr. Deborah Birx stepped in front of the camera on the White House lawn and made an alarming prediction about the coronavirus, which had, by then, killed fewer than 3,000 people in the United States.
"If we do things together, well, almost perfectly, we can get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities," Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, told Savannah Guthrie of NBC News' "Today" show.
On Saturday, Birx's prediction came true, as the number of lives lost to Covid-19 in the U.S. topped 200,000.
Meanwhile, though they have consistently done almost nothing right in the six months when 200,000 ordinary Americans have died, the Republican Party has put the pedal to the metal mobilizing after one Associate Justice died. It's all about power, nothing about the people.
Working from home with a gigabit Internet connection has at least one major perk: TV on in the background. I've gone through a lot of it in the last six months. The Expanse, Tales from the Loop, Wyonna Earp, Warrior Nun, Upload, and The Umbrella Academy were all worth watching. Some of them even have new seasons coming out soon.
On the "return to the office full-time" front, we probably have another six months to wait. The New York Times has a rundown of the 92 Covid-19 vaccines currently under development. But despite the president's lies, none of them will be available before the election. And getting 7 (or 14) billion doses manufactured and distributed will take time as well.
So, we work from home, wash our hands, wear our masks outside, and have lots of TV on in the background. Yay us.
Here we go:
Finally, for only $875,000, you can own this contemporary, 2-story house...on top of an 8-story building.
Today is the last day of meteorological summer, and by my math we really have had the warmest summer ever in Chicago. (More on that tomorrow, when it's official.) So I, for one, am happy to see it go.
And yet, so many things of note happened just in the last 24 hours:
Finally, Josh Marshall reminds everyone that Democrats are nervous about the upcoming election because we're Democrats. It's kind of in our blood.
I'm glad I took a long walk yesterday and not today, because of this:
In other news:
- State health officials warn that suburban Cook County (the immediate suburbs surrounding Chicago) has experienced a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, and placed it and 29 other counties on warning that social restrictions could resume next week.
- Moreover, Covid-19 leads in a massive wave of excess deaths reported by the Cook County Medical Examiner this week. Suicides, homicides, and overdoses are also at near-record levels.
- Jonathan Russo, writing in TPM Cafe, lays out the case that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin got what he wanted with his meddling in the 2016 US elections, and stands to gain even more if the president wins (or somehow achieves) re-election.
- The nationalist, right-wing disease has started to infect Canada as well, as their new Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole has adopted a "Canada First" platform.
- Graceland Cemetery, which doubles as an arboretum, will be closed for the longest period in its 160-year history because of damage from the August 10th derecho.
- Mother Jones obtained video from a 10 December 2015 deposition showing Donald Trump boasting about his lack of ethics and ignorance of the law.
Finally, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has called for an end to Daylight Saving Time—not just the twice-annual time changes associated with the practice.
Chicago's key Covid-19 metric, the 7-day rolling average positivity rate, ticked above 5% yesterday, as it's been near the 5% threshold for a couple of weeks. It rose from 4% to 5% between July 19th and 30th, suggesting that relaxed discipline has led to more infections.
Today Governor JB Pritzker announced stricter policies requiring masks to protect restaurant workers:
[The] new statewide restaurant and bar policy requiring all patrons to wear a mask while interacting with waitstaff and other employees, when food and beverages are brought to the table and when picking up carryout orders.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike admonished people to “stop wearing your face covering incorrectly. You’re literally contributing to infection transmission by doing so.”
Meanwhile, public health officials warn that this year's flu season could make the Covid-19 pandemic worse, and have asked everyone who's able to get a flu shot.
Meanwhile, speakers at the Republican National Convention said everything's all right, so don't worry about the virus.
Today is former president Bill Clinton's 74th birthday. Last night, he spoke at the Democratic National Convention, where the party formally nominated former vice president Joe Biden to be president.
In other news:
And finally, in about half an hour, Parker will get a much-needed bath. He has no idea this will happen. I'll let him sleep another 10 minutes before the horror begins...
A friend I met just last November died on Friday night at 32. She owned Heirloom Books in Chicago's Edgewater community, one of the last independent used-book shops in the neighborhood. (Always a "shop;" never a "store.") She'd only recently adopted a kitten, Pilar, who I met a few weeks ago.
Her father posted on Facebook that she died "peacefully but unexpectedly...from complications arising from a long-standing illness which she fought valiantly against over many years, but which few people were aware of." I was aware of it, and I can say without hesitation it was not inherently fatal. But the endlessness and isolation of the pandemic, exacerbated by a president who's too stupid and too narcissistic to have the least comprehension or compassion a human being needs to call himself one, surely contributed. So did the difficulty of getting affordable health care here.
I'm sad a friend died, and I'm angry that in almost any other country she wouldn't have.
My heart goes out to her parents and her sister.
I'm waiting for a build to finish so I can sign off work for the day, so I've queued up a few things to read later:
Looks like the build is done, and all the tests passed. (I love green pipelines.)
I am trying to put that number into perspective.
- Assuming 112.5 passengers per flight (4.378 billion passengers carried in 2018 divided by 38.9 million flights), that's the equivalent of 1,395 air-transport crashes this year.
- It's approximately the number of deaths from nuclear weapons, ever.
- More Americans have died from Covid-19 in the US than died in World War I and the Vietnam War, combined.
- It is more than the total number of people who died in New York State in 2017 from all causes.
- More Americans have died of Covid-19 than Asians and Africans combined, and we have equaled the number of deaths in the entirety of Continental Europe.
And the president and the Republican Party have let it continue through incompetence, malice, and negligence.
 Source: Statista, IATA.
 From 6 August to 31 December 1945, the US Army estimated 90,000-120,000 deaths in Hiroshima and 60,000-90,000 deaths in Nagasaki due to the atomic bombings. Source: UCLA.
 Source: Wikipedia.
 Source: NYS Dept of Health.
 Source: Worldometers