Daily Digest 3/17 – The World Is Insolvent, Gig Economy Workers Are Our Newest First Responders


Will This Year’s Census Be the Last? (tmn)

Under the terms of the Constitution, everyone in the United States was to be counted, except “Indians not taxed” (a phrase that both excluded Native peoples from U.S. citizenship and served as a de-facto acknowledgment of the sovereignty of Native nations). Every person would be counted, and there were three kinds: “free persons”; persons “bound to service for a term of years”; and “all other persons,” the last a sorry euphemism for enslaved people, who were to be counted as three-fifths of a free person. It was a compromise between Northern delegates (who didn’t want to count them at all, to thwart the South from gaining additional seats in Congress) and Southern delegates (who wanted to count them, for the sake of those seats)—a compromise, that is, between zero and one.

WHO considers ‘airborne precautions’ for medical staff after study shows coronavirus can survive in air (Sparky1)

The virus is transmitted through droplets, or little bits of liquid, mostly through sneezing or coughing, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told reporters during a virtual news conference on Monday. “When you do an aerosol-generating procedure like in a medical care facility, you have the possibility to what we call aerosolize these particles, which means they can stay in the air a little bit longer.”

One Simple Idea That Explains Why the Economy Is in Great Danger (jdargis)

Thanks to government statistical tables, we can understand the sheer size of the economic sectors that appear to be entering a near shutdown. The United States and much of the world are on the verge of a tremendous shrinkage in consumption spending, which in turn will mean less economic output and lower incomes among the people who provide those services.

The Covid-19 Dominoes Fall: The World Is Insolvent (Don R.)

On top of that, the net income of the family business plummets to near-zero in the recession, leaving insufficient income to pay all the debts the household has taken on.

This is an exact analog for the entire global economy, which pre-pandemic had assets with a market value of $350 trillion and debts of $255 trillion and thus a net worth of around $100 trillion.

Quarantine has serious impact on mental health. Here’s how to support yourself and others (Thomas R.)

Public guidance is currently vague, with various health officials offering different instructions. Among colleagues and acquaintances who were potentially exposed to coronavirus at the journalism conference I attended, some were told to isolate themselves entirely, others were told to simply avoid large crowds, and some were told it’s ok to get groceries as long as they keep their distance from others.

Health officials warn US government does not have enough stockpiled medical equipment to deal with coronavirus (Sparky1)

“We have been transparent that more supplies are needed — hence the request to Congress for additional funding so we could procure more and scale up production,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “The role at the Federal level is to appropriately implement regulatory relief, provide alternative sources and support manufacturing, and adjust allocation to appropriately target areas in need.”

‘Try getting it yourselves’: Trump told governors they’re responsible for getting their own medical equipment to treat coronavirus patients (Sparky1)

The Times reported that Trump’s directive took some of the governors by surprise given that states are already working overtime to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and are hoping for more federal aid.

Hospitals across the country are overwhelmed as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to skyrocket.

Gig Economy Workers Are Our Newest First Responders (Sparky1)

These low-paid, unsung workers—Instacart shoppers but also the Amazon delivery folks and everyone else who is doing gig work today that helps other people engage in self-protective social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic—are now the equivalent of first responders.

To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data (Sparky1)

It was supposed to be approved by Parliament’s Secret Services Subcommittee on Monday but the subcommittee ended its discussions after 4 p.m. — when a new Parliament was sworn in — without holding a vote.

Mr. Netanyahu then said the government would approve emergency regulations on Monday night that would allow for the use of the data for a limited period of 30 days, with the permission of the attorney general.

Italy’s Coronavirus Victims Face Death Alone, With Funerals Postponed (Sparky1)

His wife of 50 years, Franca Stefanelli, would like to give him a proper funeral. But traditional funeral services are illegal throughout Italy now, part of the national restrictions against gatherings and going out that have been put in place to try to stem the spread of Europe’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus. In any case, she and her sons could not attend anyway, because they are themselves sick and in quarantine.

Don’t drink bleach to prevent coronavirus, poison control center says (thc0655)

The Virginia-based poison center said their curiosity leads them to handle products left within reach, and they may mistake cleaning products for something safe to eat or drink.

Some cleaning products (including bleach) are caustic, meaning they can cause burns when swallowed or when sprayed or splashed onto the skin or into the eyes

Why Americans Are Dying from Despair (jdargis)

Case’s husband, Angus Deaton, is also an economist at Princeton. In 2013, he published a sweeping economic history, “The Great Escape,” which traced the way people had become healthier and wealthier in the past couple of centuries, though at a cost to economic equality. During his research, he’d noticed that people’s happiness was largely disconnected from this story. As wealth rose, so did health and quality of life; happiness did not necessarily follow. He was struck, then, when his wife told him that pain rates had not declined, either.

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