Heroes on the front line in Italy

Their eyes are tired. Their cheekbones rubbed raw from protective masks. They don’t smile.

The doctors and nurses on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy are almost unrecognizable behind their masks, scrubs, gloves and hairnets — the flimsy battle armor donned at the start of each shift as the only barrier to contagion.

Associated Press photographers fanned out on Friday to photograph them during rare breaks from hospital intensive care units in the Lombardy region cities of Bergamo and Brescia, and in Rome. In each case, doctors, nurses and paramedics posed in front of forest green surgical drapes, the bland backdrop of their sterile wards.

Decades ago, I worked in an historic teaching hospital associated with a world-class university. It was appropriately one of the few U.S. hospitals with a section reserved for treatment of rare, usually-imported, deadly diseases. I don’t recall the official name. The grunts I worked with – charged with maintaining essential infrastructure – called it the “Plague Ward”.

I can still recall the eerie and scary feeling we shared – electricians, structural workers, line mechanics – when we suited up in what passed for hazmat suits back in the day, surgical masks, towels wrapped over our shoes…

That feeling is back.

Journalists shouldn’t censor Trump – they can help the public identify lies and ignorance

In times of mortal strife, humans crave information more than ever, and it’s journalists’ responsibility to deliver it. But what if that information is inaccurate, or could even kill people?

That’s the quandary journalists have found themselves in as they decide whether to cover President Donald J. Trump’s press briefings live…

When the president of the United States speaks, it matters – it is newsworthy, it’s history in the making. Relaying that event to the public as it plays out is critical for citizens, who can see and hear for themselves what their leader is saying, and evaluate the facts for themselves so that they may adequately self-govern.

That’s true even if leaders lie. Actually, it’s even more important when leaders lie.

And there’s nothing to stop you from pointing out the lies – especially in a live telecast.

Coronavirus is starting to hit rural America hard

The coronavirus is rapidly surging throughout the United States, with some small rural counties leading the country in per capita rates of confirmed cases, according to a CNBC data analysis.

Rural counties like Gunnison County, Colorado; Blaine County, Idaho; and Summit County, Utah have all been struggling with a recent surge in infections. The counties, located in states popular for skiing and hiking, are now grappling with tourists spreading infections and overwhelming local hospitals…

The sparsely populated areas are ill equipped to deal with the rapid spreads, and mayors and county officials are pointing to a major lack of testing and medical supplies for patients.

RTFA. Rural America is consistently underserved by national concerns, DC politicians. I’m not certain if people dying will get anymore attention from folks in Congress in Big City suits will expand their focus.

COVID-19 is pushing the growth of online grocery shopping

In the wake of COVID-19, consumers around the globe have been forced to change their buying habits…For many, ecommerce has become the preferred—or only—way to buy goods, a change that will likely accelerate the adoption of ecommerce by 2-3 years…

Based on our survey and a category-by-category analysis of US retail sales, we expect ecommerce to represent as much as 32% of retail sales in Q2 2020.

People are using ecommerce in new ways during this shutdown, which will create new habits and accelerate the trend toward buying goods online. Online delivery of groceries and household goods under index overall ecommerce, leaving even more room for growth. We expect Amazon, Walmart, Target, Uber Eats, Doordash, Instacart, and others to see new and long-lasting demand for their ecommerce services…

So, when stores re-open, will shoppers that were forced online flood back to the stores, or will some of their new habits stick? Our survey indicates that a majority of people will increase their online shopping going forward. 47% of respondents said they will return to buying most things in stores but plan on buying more online; an additional 13% said they plan on continuing to buy most things online.

If the cost remains the same [or close enough], convenience rules. Delivery charges are comparatively small or non-existent. Pickup is easy as pie in my recent experience. We usually combine an errand or two with our Sunday morning grocery shopping. Now, we just pick out what we need a day or so in advance. Schedule the pickup. Roll into a parking spot at the scheduled time – after checking in online or by phone to make certain [1] nothing screwed up, [2] let them track our drive to town so the order is ready to load into the car when we roll in. Catch our other stops, afterwards [or before]. Easy-peasy.

And guess what? No impulse buying.