China beat the coronavirus with science and strong public health measures


By Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University

My research suggests that the control of the virus in China is not the result of authoritarian policy, but of a national prioritization of health. China learned a tough lesson with SARS, the first coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century.

Barely less than a year ago, a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, with 80,000 cases identified within three months, killing 3,000 people.

In late January 2020, the Chinese government decided to lock down this city of 11 million people. All transportation to and from the city was stopped. Officials further locked down several other cities in Hubei Province, eventually quarantining over 50 million people.

By the beginning of April, the Chinese government limited the spread of the virus to the point where they felt comfortable opening up Wuhan once again.

Seven months later, China has confirmed 9,100 additional cases and recorded 1,407 more deaths due to the coronavirus. People in China travel, eat in restaurants and go into theaters, and kids go to school without much concern for their health. Juxtapose that to what we are experiencing in the U.S. To date, we have confirmed over 11 million cases, with the last 1 million recorded in just the last one week alone.

Affirmation in detail of modern public health measures producing the best economic results…as well as saving a heck of a lot more lives than the piecemeal failure we’re still going through in the United States.

Runaway, runaway!


2020 answer to a covered wagon

According to a recent study from Business Insider and Hire A Helper, New Mexico was ranked second in the nation for having the most people move here during the pandemic. Idaho was No. 1…

In October, homes in the metro stayed on the market for an average of five days before going under contract, and realtors sold 36% more metro homes last month than in October 2019…

“I think the way we get them to sink roots here is by putting our best foot forward from the very beginning,” said New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf…”

Two footnotes:

1. Aside from large existing employers like the National Labs keeping spin-offs here in NM, we have the example of Netflix…who already have a sizable operation on Mesa del Sol…getting ready for a $1 billion, 10-year expansion plan that “will make ABQ Studios one of the largest high-tech and sustainable film production facilities in North America”.

2. Strictly seat-of-the-pants…my guess is folks of the rightwing persuasion choose Idaho…folks whose outlook on life is leftwing, humanist, recognize they’ll feel more at home in New Mexico. Doesn’t mean that either flavor will have an easier row to hoe as incomers in Idaho or New Mexico. Time will tell.

Healthcare American-style

Convicts paid $2/hr to move bodies from morgues into trailer truck-refrigerators


Mario Tama/Getty

Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, Texas’ El Paso County is paying prison inmates $2 an hour to move the bodies of deceased victims of the disease. While prison labor is a common practice across the U.S., the reliance on inmates to handle the task of moving the corpses of COVID-19 victims is raising questions about the ethics of such work…

El Paso County has about 34,000 active COVID-19 cases, with more than 1,100 people in hospitals, according to local health data. Since the pandemic began spreading widely in March, the county has recorded 769 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus…

In recent years, U.S. prisoners have gone on strike to protest work conditions and low pay. While the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery in 1865, it includes one exception: People who are “duly convicted” of a crime. Because of that exception, prisoners can be paid nothing for their labor — and in fact, there are five states, including Texas, where regular prison jobs are unpaid.

In many ways, Texas continues to lead the pack of backwards’ states reactionary and racist culture. And rationalizing, American style – they will brag about being number one.

How a toxic mountain was dumped onto a community of color

The mountain is human-made — an environmental nightmare of discarded roofing shingles stretching more than a city block. Even though it’s an illegal toxic waste dump on the edge of a neighborhood, it took months of pressure to get city officials to even acknowledge its existence and finally make plans to take it down.

Shingle Mountain didn’t just appear from out of nowhere. It formed just south of a section of Dallas settled by formerly enslaved people, an area that for more than a century has been zoned for everything White citizens didn’t want in their neighborhoods: industrial rail yards, chemical plants, concrete mixing facilities, warehouses that lure up to 100 diesel trucks per day and a massive landfill.

And now, even as Dallas is currently more than 60 percent Latino and African American, with a Black city manager and mayor and a diverse city council, redlining and other historic land-use decisions by White leaders and planners who are long gone continue to have a lasting negative impact.

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.