Just how weird are things now?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is the opener:

If I have learned one thing over the last few weeks, it is that the psychology of the American public is weirder — and perhaps more flexible — than I ever would have thought.

Consider, as just one example among many, the issue of nursing homes. According to some estimates, about 40% of the deaths associated with Covid-19 have occurred in nursing homes, with more almost certain to come.

You might think that those 40,000-plus deaths would be a major national scandal. But so far the response has been subdued. Yes, there has been ample news coverage, but there are no riots in response, no social movement to “clean up the nursing homes,” no Ralph Nader-like crusader who has made this his or her political cause.

Nor has there been much resulting vilification. There are plenty of condemnations of technology billionaires, but very few of nursing-home CEOs. Many of the state and local politicians who oversee public-sector nursing homes have been rewarded with higher approval ratings.

As if all this weren’t bad enough, of those 40,000 deaths, surely a considerable number are African-American (data by race is hard to come by). This could be an issue for Black Lives Matter, but somehow it isn’t.

There is indeed much more at the link.


One an become trapped in the nursing home due to flat earth estimation that we can always scale up. When we do this the path back home is lost. Family has invested in the nursing home already, via taxes, with no reversal.

"You might think that those 40,000-plus deaths would be a major national scandal. But so far the response has been subdued. "

If somebody tried to make a scandal of it, they would be accused of making Trump look bad, having derangement syndrome, or taking the easy jab at Trump. The conversation usually ends there.

They could point out that Cuomo sending infected people to nusring homes killed many many people, but that would make him look bad so the conversation ends there. Like Tyler and most of you it's about politics not consequences.

Why would anyone blame Trump for the nursing home thing? That was the work of Blue State Democrats like Cuomo. And they knew they were going to kill a lot of old people - the Health Commissioner in Pennsylvania removed their mother from one and sent her to a plush hotel before the order.

They did it, it seems, because the models told them the hospitals would be over-run. They weren't. The hospital ship sent to New York treated few than four dozen. But Cuomo killed 4,000.

This reflects badly on the Democrats and well on Republican states like Florida. So you will never hear a word about it. After all, it is an election year and everyone wants Trump to lose.

Who let COVID-19 into the country? The governors don't do international travel. That's the Federal government.

Please let the democrats become the party of border and immigration control in 2020.

The Chinese “let” Covid -1984 into the country.

How is Trump to blame? It was UNIVERSALLY Democratic governors (Cuomo, Murphy, Wolf, etc.) who ordered the infected back into Long Term Care Facilities.

That is why you won't hear about it, the Democratic News Media won't report on it.

Mississippi's governor isn't Democrat


Neither is Georgia


Nor Florida


"At an April 23 press conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded indignant when a reporter asked if anyone had objected to New York’s policy of forcing nursing homes to admit recently discharged COVID-19 patients.

“They don’t have the right to object,” Cuomo answered before the reporter finished his question. “That is the rule, and that is the regulation, and they have to comply with it.”"

It does take a bit of digging to get beyond the BS/Fake News on the part of both sides of political influence. Mostly due to 'delays' in reporting of deaths... as we are now being told... chuckle, smirk...

Georgia population slightly more than half that of NYS, 2000 deaths, NYS 24k deaths. Georgia about 1,000 in nursing homes; NY probably 10k+; they don’t report the number.

The article linked by Tyler in his post shows estimated COVID-19 fatalities among nursing home and long-term care facility residents, per 10,000 residents of those facilities.

Here are those numbers for various states:

New Jersey: 954 *
Connecticut: 827 (2nd highest in the country)
Massachusetts: 703 (3rd highest)
New York: 255
Georgia: 159
Mississippi: 153
Florida: 59

* This number for NJ is the highest in the country, and it's truly astounding. Almost 10% of the population in nursing homes and assisted living facilities has died from COVID-19.

The numbers for New York are wrong:
(ALBANY, N.Y.) — New York state is now reporting more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it’s protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

“At least 4,813 residents with confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 have died at 351 of New York’s 613 nursing homes since March 1, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration’s new list. The list, released late Monday, includes the reported number of both confirmed and presumed deaths as of Sunday evening.”

According to KFF, there were approximately 101k nursing home residents in NY state in 2017. https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/number-of-nursing-facility-residents/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedRows=%7B%22wrapups%22:%7B%22united-states%22:%7B%7D%7D,%22states%22:%7B%22new-york%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

That’s from May 5, so there’s almost another month of deaths. The death toll is slowing down, but that could add 1,000 more and there’s also the real possibility that they are undercounting by not including deaths after transfer to the hospital. So your figure for NY is low by at least a factor of two.

More total cluelessness by TC. As far as ample reporting, the MSM has simply refused to connect the dots. The Northeast governors formed a coalition early in the Kung flu crisis - is it any wonder they all made the same fatal mistake, sending infected people into the nursing homes? They were in a frenzy about the hospitals being overrun, and quickly shipped the infected out to kill the vulnerable. Here in Pennsylvania, they’ve stopped reporting deaths in nursing homes as the 70% deaths became too obvious. And yet, Cuomo has been lionized by the MSM.

If a sane policy had been followed, the death toll would have been far lower. Couple it with likely overcounting of deaths due to a chain of assumptions, and the likely fatality rate is in the ballpark of seasonal flu. We did not have to flatten the economy. If a Republican had done this it would have shouted from the rooftops. But our media is thoroughly corrupt and hides the truth from the public.

And it worked. But keep on Trumping.

It may be that no one thinks 85-year-olds in a nursing home dying from a virus is all that shocking.

But let’s not take attention off those tech billionaires who are using SJW’s to crush free speech. And who are importing huge numbers of workers to crush wages.

Ahhh, But then again maybe that’s why those guys and their academic supporters love the issue of BLM. Distracts us from what they’ve done to this country.

Tyler, I think it's because nursing homes are just that - homes for nursing the elderly once they can no longer take care of themselves. I don't think it's a surprise to the public that the nursing home population is vulnerable to any particular virus, as they're vulnerable to almost everything.

I think it may also be that the public doesn't have much empathy for nursing home patients because they don't see themselves becoming one. We don't see those in the nursing homes accomplishing much of anything. We hope to die younger, just before the period in which we're nursed to death.

Nursing homes are not old folks homes. They are where folks go to die. According to a UCSF study the life expectancy of an admit to a nursing home is 5 months. Tyler is usually intelligent even when I don’t agree. He’s missed this one badly.

Tens of thousands died, whereas a vastly smaller number of people (1,000-2,000) are killed by the police, the overwhelming majority of these being completely legitimate and uncontroversial.

Focusing on nursing home deaths isn't sexy enough story for media doesn't make any money

Media is a business full stop

Focusing on one death in Minneapolis then feeding the frenzy that ensued makes heaps of money

If it bleeds it leads

This comparison makes no sense. Pandemic deaths would very likely be avoidable but there's no cummulative anger associated to it, it will not lead millions to explosion for being ignored for centuries. People do feel bad about thousands of lives lost but please, we are talking about apples and oranges in this one.

+1. This is an outstandingly bad take by Tyler.

Indeed. Tyler should find way better ways to draw attention to awful strategy (or lack of it) to protect people living in nursing homes.

So do people go to nursing homes because they're dying, or do they die because they went to a nursing home?

Having dealt now with several close family members at the end, it is mostly the former, not the latter. I do think the nursing homes quicken the process, but probably not by more than 1 year. You basically resort to a nursing home when caring for someone becomes too much to handle- they are so sick and infirm you can no longer get them from one place to another. Bedridden old people don't last long, nursing home or in their own homes.

What is the median length of life left once a person enters a nursing home? I have read various estimates, but none stretch longer than 18 months.

Not every family utilizes nursing homes for their frail elderly, so it might be worthwhile to examine the COVID-19 deaths of people in similar age and health, but who were taken care of at home. You might find that the nursing homes aren't all that different overall- after all, if the 40% figure is correct, that leaves another 60% to account for, and all the evidence suggests they are just as elderly for the most part.

Tough question...There seems to be multiple levels of "nursing home" that probably have different life expediencies -- some are essentially dorm facilities, while others provide total care. Plus, all the homes that specialize in memory care.

Cuomo is a murderer. Let's all be clear: sending patients with the virus to nursing homes was one of the more fucking crazy ass bullshit I just killed you decisions we have seen in our lifetimes.

NYC has been royally screwed by their governor and mayor...if either had an ounce of honour dignity or decency they would have stepped down by now...both will go down in history for what they are...self serving political animals devoid of good sense

Will they? I'm not so sure. But sending people with coronavirus to nursing homes amounted to the assassination of the elderly.

Intention vs negligence, as an ardent BLM supporter the shock of seeing a healthy man being murdered in the street goes a long way.

Media of the police brutality is far more shocking than the death of people in the nursing homes.

Not that this not a big deal-- But would the same people be better off at home? What is the alternative?

The alternative to bad police work that breaks the oath of office by failing the bill of rights the ground of un due searches and seizures, the right to life, and cruel and unusual punishment, is in fact good police work.

The alternative is obvious in the police case, the alternative is not obvious in the nursing home case-- would they better cared for at home? Perhaps in some cases, but it is not a clear cut issue, where the alternatives are enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Hong Kong has almost the population of New York but suffered no nursing home deaths. It wasn’t dumb luck , they took very specific targeted measures to control infection in that environment.
Not easy but it could have been done.
I think most people see old people as harmless and useless and that’s maybe the problem.
Their lives don’t matter.

And once again to remind that there were no special precautions in Tokyo, a city that is larger than New York and where many were commuting until mid-April on packed trains and subways, yet Tokyo has had around 400 Covid-19 deaths *total* so some other factor seems to be important with Asian countries.

So, Hong Kong was successful due to strict measures like a lockdown where the virus was prevented from spreading???
As for Tokyo, the population to a certain degree wears masks 365 days a year & once the virus was announced virtually 100% of the people would start wearing masks.
Why are we surprised at these results???
In hindsight it should be obvious, but we are unwilling to accept what was an easy solution. Unfortunately we can all be guilty of the 'when all else fails' syndrome - when we've tried everything else we can think of & failed, use the solution that has worked for someone else.
But that is clearly 20/20 vision & hard to find in times of crisis...…...

"the population to a certain degree wears masks 365 days a year & once the virus was announced virtually 100% of the people would start wearing masks."

This contradicts what I have read in more reputable sources.

Might those sources also be the ones telling us not to wear masks??? Really, to be told not to do something so simple common sense that the medical profession has been doing to prevent the spread of germs, bacterial & Viral infections for a hundred years. University education has led me to know what wearing a mask can do but I realize that not everyone has had that chance.
It is a sad statement that once the evidence started to emerge from SE Asia, where many people routinely wear masks - our collective medical experts reversed their recommendations on wearing masks. It is now recommended to wear masks anytime you go out of your house.
But of course not all reputable sources of information are equal.
Sometimes listening to your own better judgement is the best source of direction...

No, they are not. They are sources that recommended masks early.

"As for Tokyo, the population to a certain degree wears masks 365 days a year & once the virus was announced virtually 100% of the people would start wearing masks"

This is way off. Even in winter, it is unlikely that more than 20% are wearing masks in public although this year a survey showed that 66% were wearing masks in February because of coronavirus and was much higher in South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Yes, intention vs. negligence is the key. And honestly I am reluctant to accuse anyone of even negligence relating to COVID because it was a completely new disease where we had very little knowledge and what knowledge we did have frequently changed from week-to-week.

But surely the police officer must have been (grossly) negligent? Why would he suddenly one day purposefully slowly choke a guy to death with his knee in front of a ton of witnesses for no reason? He's essentially charged with gross negligence and will most likely be going to jail for a long time. He's fired and his wife divorced him. None of that would have happened if Floyd hadn't died.

People go to/are sent to nursing homes to die. These people died. Mission accomplished. Nobody has ever emerged a nursing home cured.

My father is in an assisted living center; he's got money, it's pretty nice, as long as you're still independent. My mother moved to a nursing home 6 months before her death. There's nothing to live for in a nursing home; you're just waiting to die, usually with dementia and/or disability. I was sad when she went to the nursing home; I greeted her death with as much relief as sadness; I had already said goodbye.

The analysis linked by Tyler combines both "nursing homes" and "assisted living centers" to reach the 40% number.

I would bet that the overwhelming majority of articles in the popular press also combine both types of facilities even if they just refer to "nursing homes" as shorthand.

My father left a nursing home cured. They are also used as convalescent facilities for people discharged from hospitals who can't take care of themselves at home. After 4 days in convalescence - in a nursing home that also housed the dying - he went home and lived four more years.

Same here. My father stayed two or three months in the nursing home, left and lived another ten years.

Yes you are correct. Skilled nursing facilities are commonly used to rehab people unsafe to go home. So Tom is talking out of his ass, but I don't blame him. Par for the course on this blog.

Not all facilities are the same nor equal in terms of levels of quality of service. They have been suspect for many years & the cutbacks in funding have seriously reduced service. There is no question that PSW's are a neglected part of the Healthcare profession. The consequence has been an erosion of their ability to serve which may have contributed to lower levels of compassion in some workers.
My Dad lived for nearly 20yrs. in a variety of facilities due to dementia. It was a sad day when he passed. We should all have respect for those who have been thru' this process, criticizing survivors isn't helpful...

Yes, well the parties responsible for this screwed-up are mostly blue state politicians and regulators, and that doesn't fit the politically correct narrative. Sorry if I'm offending any staunch liberals, as that is not my intention. Just giving my honest assessment.

Sorry for the typo

Even worse for that narrative, digging into the story in detail leads to the contrast with the Florida state government. Florida has seemed to do a pretty good job of taking measures that limited the spread of COVID-19 into nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

American attitudes are much more flexible than pundits think. Politically, we're currently being offered two different extreme piles of shit, so there's really nothing on offer that could split people's loyalties. But when the right person comes up, the shift will happen.

The US is clearly cracking up. This has been going on for decades and gradually accelerating. The rest of the western world seems maybe 10 years behind the US.

I blame the death of authentic community, strip-mined by decades of consumerism and capitalist "creative destruction". Without community life and with ubiquitous mass media, people now live in a world where strangers' voices are always in their heads. Ideas propagate without evidence and media content is gradually selected to be maximally stimulating and upsetting to drive engagement. Negative emotional energy builds up and there is a desperate hunt for catharsis. Joining the thronging crowds in the streets can provide that in a temporary way. This is essentially a scapegoat ritual with the random violence against fellow proles providing some temporary relief.

But without the reestablishment of genuine community life, negative emotions will continue to build up.

Agree. It's ritualistic. Actually, the historical moment reminds me of what happens in some Hunter Gatherer communities when an elite hunter returns with a monkey for dinner. Everybody reviles the guy, says the meat is awful, and anyway he wouldn't have caught it if everyone else hadn't chased the monkey. They shake a spear at him, call him names, and with some vague sense of equality regained everybody eats. I would argue this whole riot shows that we are becoming a tribe, a crappy dysfunctional one, but a tribe nonetheless. Civilization be damned.

There were open civil wars between right and left in many European countries from 1917-1945, before these decades of consumerism and capitalism.

+1, And there was a pretty heated civil war among the right and left in the US in the 1960's.

We aren't to that level yet.

I agree that community life would be a net plus but it doesn't address how one is supposed to establish one's standing in society which is currently done by our market system using the national currency. The community isn't just going to give you a house, a car, a business, or other property. If a community does not allow a healthy outlet for its more ambitious members, that would be a net negative to all.

Tyler may be professionally obliged to be coy, but we all know that the nursing home issue gets no traction in the press (or with BLM) for the same reason that Minnesota state and local government doesn't get held accountable for the conduct of the Minneapolis police: because it would reflect badly on the Democratic party.

Make no mistake: the nursing home killing fields came about knowingly. Pennsylvania's secretary of health moved her own mother to a hotel at the same time she was sending other people's parents to die. Meanwhile, Cuomo gets to yuk it up on TV with his brother, who himself knowingly broke quarantine while infected, and then lied about it.

Look too at the politically motivated outrage directed at Florida's Republican governor, and the refusal to acknowledge that he was right and the critics were wrong. If you want proof that the attacks on him were always fraudulent, look at the Atlantic magazine author who called Georgia's reopening an experiment in human sacrifice. She's lately been tweeting that New York City's 8 pm curfew is too early, because everyone there likes to go out and eat late. Not a word about the public health effects of thousands of people standing shoulder to shoulder, from her, from Tyler or Alex, or from any of the progressives in the comments who denounced the lockdown protests as a menace. Where's the spike in transmission predicted from those protests, by the way?

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Tyler at least trying to give some visibility to the hypocrisy at work, but as long as he stays silent about the virus and the protests, one has to wonder: was the social-distancing panic and the criticism of the lockdown protestors always bullshit, or do the people who previously pushed those lines still actually expect an oncoming public health horror but have now fallen silent purely for political reasons?

I saw that Atlantic hypocrisy. And that was a solid, middlebrow magazine. What a shame.

She wrote (then): opening Georgia is human sacrifice. And she wrote (now): an 8 pm curfew is too early. Because dinner.

The more likely explanation is that public knowledge of COVID has changed and people regard it as not quite as bad as originally believed. All states were already reopening before this latest round of protests. COVID is a completely new disease—there’s nothing hypocritical about changing one’s mind about it as new information comes in. I supported a strict-but-short lockdown at the end of February based on what was happening in other countries, and supported reopening by the end of April based on the new data coming in. It was perfectly reasonable to think that protests could be a major vector for transmission and then change that belief once the first protests turned out not to be.

Good reasoning. I am always interested in how domestic politics becomes the lens as to how people look at things, and how a foreign observer, like you, can see more clearly. Thank you.

I’m not a foreign observer; I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life.

Got you confused with someone else. Still, you seem sensible, which may be explained by the fact that you lived in the midwest all your life. There is another Z person out there who is from Israel.

Those Z's all look alike.


"there’s nothing hypocritical about changing one’s mind about it as new information comes in. "

No as long as you publicly announce the change and apologize to the groups you condemned earlier, it's fine. Otherwise it's just rank hypocrisy.

As far as I know, she hasn't recanted her "Human sacrifice" position.

There is outrage right now because police officers murdered a man in cold blood in broad daylight, they were filmed doing it, and a week later, only one of the four murderers has been arrested and charged (with third degree murder, not first degree murder). There is outrage because killings like this one happen all the time but aren't caught on camera, and police officers almost always get away with it.

There is outrage because some political leaders chose to respond to protests of police violence with more police violence. In cities like Camden, NJ and Flint, MI, where police chiefs listened to protesters rather than sending out riot squads, protests have been peaceful. There is outrage because people who claim to respect this country's founders are trying to put armies in our cities, not knowing or not caring that by doing so they are betraying everything our founders stood for.

Negligence in nursing homes merits outrage, too. But don't pretend for a minute that negligence and cold-blooded murder are in any way comparable.

Actually unarmed people were shot and killed by cops 41 times in 2019, and 9 of those had black victims. I wouldn’t call that “all the time.”

Innumeracy seems to be a prerequisite for liberal outrage.

On the contrary, America needs more LEOs like the one who courageously subdued the violent, 6'6", 12 kg career criminal, Mr. George Floyd. And I would dare to say that most Afro-Americans agree with this assessment.

I don't know why, but for some reason I am compelled to mention that according to the transcript, one of the other police officers - I think it was Lane but maybe Keung - said, more than once, I think we should turn him over, get him off his stomach. He said he was worried about [some medical thing ... can't remember the odd term he used]. There is no construction under which that cop could be said to have wanted to see the guy murdered. That he didn't have the strength of character to overrule his colleague, to do so forcibly, is no doubt something he will replay in his mind the rest of his life. I know nothing of the law - but do we routinely charge people with murder for the sin of omission?

"About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops."

"The number-crunching by Edwards and his coauthors also revealed that for all young men, police violence was one of the leading causes of death in the years 2013 to 2018."

Source: Amina Khan, "Getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America," Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2019.

This passed the WSJ fact-checkers yesterday:

"A police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer."

If this is true, how costly is the continual suppression from polite conversation of such a fact. Even if it is costly in a *final* sort of way, to "the American experiment", is it still worth it?

The statistic should not be suppressed. But it is not OK to use this statistic to reach racist conclusions about police accountability.

Police who are too quick to pull the trigger on unarmed people need to face consequences, including criminal charges. Police who kill in cold blood need to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

So we're done? Chauvin has been charged. Or do the protests continue, justified in all their manifestations or, uh, totally secondary ramifications, because the other three have not been charged with murder? - or whatever would result in "the rest of their lives being spent in prison" (how many people who take life in America end up spending the rest of their lives in prison, I wonder) for pulling the trigger on an unarmed George Floyd? In truth, the three did not pull any trigger at all. Similarly, George Floyd did not pull any trigger when he held a woman at gunpoint while his accomplices ransacked her apartment. He got five years, I believe.

It might be "a leading cause of death", but that study ( https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793 ) also states:

"Police use of force is responsible for 1.6% of all deaths involving black men between the ages of 20 y and 24 y. At this age range, police are responsible for 1.2% of American Indian/Alaska Native male deaths, 0.5% of Asian/Pacific Islander male deaths, 1.2% of Latino male deaths, and 0.5% of white male deaths."

It's a "leading" cause of death that even for the highest-risk group - young African-American men - is an order of magnitude lower than deaths caused by each of accidents, suicides, or "other" homicides (i.e., homicides not involving the police).

I wonder how much more likely men and boys are to die during an encounter with cops than women and girls?

Twenty times more likely (according to the L.A. Times).


Looks like the WaPo put together a database of the last 5.5 years worth of police shootings, and 109 unarmed blacks have been shot by police in that timeframe, which is a little higher of an annual average than what I quoted above.

That being said... <10% of blacks shot by cops were unarmed. That should seriously alter how you view the statistics you mentioned above.

I agree that the police killing Floyd is a more serious issue than the nursing home problem. But the police putting 200M innocent people into house arrests is infinitely more serious, and you can't argue it was "negligence".

There were 4 billion+ in house arrest at one point.

There is outrage right now because police officers murdered a man in cold blood in broad daylight, they were filmed doing it, and a week later, only one of the four murderers has been arrested and charged (with third degree murder, not first degree murder).

There is no evidence - or even reason to think - that Chauvin murdered anyone. And saying so loudly does not make it so. There is no reason to think any of the other three murdered anyone either.

There is outrage because Trump is about to be re-elected. At least that is what a rather large woman from the Democratic Socialists in Minneapolis just said on Russia Today. That is what is driving these riots.

There is outrage because killings like this one happen all the time but aren't caught on camera, and police officers almost always get away with it.

The figures for police-related deaths are minute - about 18 per year. These sort of things do not happen all the time.

There is outrage because some political leaders chose to respond to protests of police violence with more police violence.

Really? Where? Every riot I have seen has been in a Democratic strong hold and the local Democratic party leaders have given the looters the freedom to loot to their heart's content. The only people I have seen resisting are some shop owners.

There is outrage because people who claim to respect this country's founders are trying to put armies in our cities, not knowing or not caring that by doing so they are betraying everything our founders stood for.

I am pretty sure the Founders were not big on looting either.

Negligence in nursing homes merits outrage, too. But don't pretend for a minute that negligence and cold-blooded murder are in any way comparable.

Ordering nursing homes to take infected patients is not negligence. It is murder. Pre-meditated murder.

And they are not comparable. What happened to Floyd is sad. Not a crime.

In my view, what happened to Floyd was somewhere in the neighborhood of criminally negligent homicide, as he had already been subdued and there was no need to continue applying that level of force. That said, in my ideal world, multi-time criminals with a violent offense on their records would either be executed or in prison work camps until retirement age...

And seconded that the Founders were not big on looting. Common Sense above would do well to read up on Shays' Rebellion in particular, where almost all of the arrested participants received some form of leniency, except John Bly and Charles Rose, who were...wait for it...looters.

"In my view, what happened to Floyd was somewhere in the neighborhood of criminally negligent homicide"

+1, agreed. The cop deserves to be punished. He was sadistic and authoritarian and his actions caused a mans death.

But that doesn't excuse the actions of thousands of looters, thugs and rioters either. They deserve to be punished for their crimes. And let's not forget, people are being killed by looters.

The anonymous commentator would do well to read up on the causes of the American Revolution. We went to war partly to get a military occupation out of our cities.

No patriotic American can support military occupation of our cities now.

You're doing an excellent job of turning natural allies against you with your hyperbole

Sending in military, other than National Guard, would be horrendous overkill. If a governor actually requests the assistance, then maybe it's OK, but otherwise it comes off as a military coup against the states. I'm surprised anyone on the Right would be down with it.

I am neither right nor left however, I'm surprised you don't seem to know that the Insurrection Act has been used before - by both Democrats and Republicans.

In the case of uncontrollable rioting, the most recent use was 1992 during the Rodney King riots. Oddly enough, the press more or less supported the move and when it was over, the troops left the state - there was no "coup".

The primary job for ANY government is to secure the rights of all its citizens. If one group of citizens is attacking another (lives and/or property) and the state and local governments cannot or will not do anything about it, it falls to the federal government to step in and do something.

This is what happened during de-segregation when federal troops were sent in because the governor of a state deployed his own national guard to prevent black kids from attending white schools in his state.

What was the name of the act that was used to allow this?

Oh yeah - the Insurrection Act.

When a governor requests troops, then sure, send them in. Otherwise, nope. There's no "insurrection" taking place. This isn't the Civil War. It's a few two bit hooligans taking advantage of the protests in some (not all) cities to smash and grab. We don't need the army to handle that. The army is for fighting wars. The National Guard should suffice, and indeed the rioting is subsiding.

From the criminal complaint:

"At 8:24:24, Mr. Floyd stopped moving. At 8:25:31 the video appears to show Mr. Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane said, 'want to roll him on his side.' Kueng checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, 'I couldn’t find one.' None of the officers moved from their positions. At 8:27:24, the defendant removed his knee from Mr. Floyd’s neck.'

According to this statement of the facts, Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly two minutes after Floyd stopped moving or speaking. He kept his knee on Floyd's neck after another officer said he couldn't find a pulse. Isn't that evidence of intent to kill?

Two other officers had their knees on Floyd's back. They kept their knees on his back after Floyd stopped moving and after one of the officers did not find a pulse. The independent autopsy indicates that compression of the lungs contributed to Floyd's death.

I understand why a prosecutor would have to be strategic about the charging decision, given the likelihood that at least one juror will be a racist idiot who thinks the police can do no wrong. The third degree murder charge against Chauvin makes sense from that point of view. But based on the facts reported, I think it is likely that Chauvin committed murder in the first degree, and that the other two officers with their knees on Floyd's body were accessories.

Note that in Minnesota, the charge of third degree murder does not require intent to kill.

Any officer who puts their knee on a handcuffed person's neck should go to prison. This is not open to serious debate.

Here are links to the Minnesota statutes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree murder:




Reading those definitions, what Chauvin did isn't first degree murder under Minnesota law. (For Common Sense, or anyone else who disagrees with that, please quote the section from that Minnesota statute that would say that what Chauvin did is 1st degree murder.)

One could argue for 2nd degree murder: "causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation".

One could also argue that 3rd degree murder is the appropriate charge: "without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life".

> There is outrage right now because police officers murdered a man in cold blood in broad daylight

The cop didn't think he was killing the guy. The cop had done that move a thousand times and it never failed him. Some have said that move was taught to restrain those in cuffs that are trying to hurt themselves.

George Floyd has a very violent history: assault, robbery, armed robbery, drugs. He has done much worse to others than what was done to him. The cop was wrong, but you can be certain he didn't mean to kill the guy because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand he'd be strung up for murder if the guy died.

Murder 3 is the right charge for Chauvin, and that's what the DA charged.

He wasn't violent at the time, and Chauvin kept the knee on well after the Floyd was unconscious. Chauvin also has a history of violence and complaints.

Also is robbing someone worse than killing them?

"he wasn't violent at the time" is not a true statement
there was a pretty big fight going on when they were trying to
place him in the police car right before he was laying on the ground

And what about the hypocrisy of “small government”, Gadsen flag waving conservatives and their response to these protests and the iron fist with which the government is responding?

What about not caring at all what Indian people think about anything. You are a guest- and extremely unpopular one if polls are to be believed. You are in the seen not heard demo and honestly it would be best if you weren’t even seen.

He has a point. A lot of people who are rightfully wary of the government have a strange blindspot when it comes to the police.

His point is laughable- providing order is a first order aspect of government. Making sure that trannies can show their dicks off in libraries isn’t.

Actually, of course, the 14th Amendment extends the right of freedom if speech to all persons, including "guests", if that is indeed what Pranav is. Better that we hear from "guests" than that we hear from those ignorant of such clear and simple principles.

Straw. "Small government" rarely means "Let's have police presence of insufficient size to deal with violent communist-anarchist mobs".

Whatever we think about it, "Small government" is clearly about putting functions inside government and/or funded under general taxation which belong in private hands. "Nightwatchman state". It is not generally an advocacy of for weak nightwatchmen who'll get beaten up by left wing mobs and who are powerless to protect people at large from left wing mobs.

You responded to a straw with a straw. Nobody is against the police defending against mobs. The issue is the police using force on completely peaceful protestors, as seen most recently in Washington to let Trump get a photo-op but also in other cities (in my city, the looting was occurring several blocks down from where the main mass of peaceful protestors were, yet you saw tons of police surrounding the peaceful protestors and none defending the shops being looted).

? I'm not asserting in that post that anyone is making a particular argument about the police's role. So no "straw" (can't be if I'm making no claims about anyone taking a particular stance). Only that Pranavs comment is inconsistent with the most basic grasp of what "small government" conservatives are arguing for, and that there is no inconsistency.

Regarding the Trump thing, as I've said before, unfortunately sometimes the authorities do have to clear peaceful protests when they are being held in a place where that would clash with maintaining the safety of political figures. Sometimes protestors do get dispersed when they try to protest at rallies for instance, to avoid the potential for disorder and clashes emerging from a "peaceful protest" that can harm government officials. That's life. Plenty of places to protest, and if they did not disperse when asked to, that's on them and tear gassing them was absolutely reasonable to disperse them and maintain the safety of the President. ( If they weren't asked to disperse before being pushed out, I will admit, still bad tho. But if they willfully refused to disperse, they got what they should've known was coming).

According to the USPP Acting Chief, there was no tear gas used during the clearing of protesters from Lafayette Park. What you see in the videos are smoke grenades. They also used pepper-loaded paint ball rounds.

Why did they do this?

Because at about 1833, which coincidentally enough is just about the time Trump was scheduled to begin speaking, some members of the crowd began to throw rocks, frozen plastic bottles of water, and caustic liquid on the officers at the skirmish line. Some even went after the officers' weapons.

This was a coordinated effort by a small group of violent individuals designed specifically to show the "peaceful protesters" being removed from the park by force when Trump was speaking. They knew exactly what would happen if they did what they did and they wanted to play to the cameras.

And the mainstream media did not disappoint. Everyone except FoxNews was positively apoplectic - without thinking or even asking if there was a cause. That asshat Lemon on CNN said that we were "teetering on the edge of a dictatorship" because of the actions of the Park Police. And from the comfort of his studio, he implore the protesters to "stand up and fight!"

Really? Perhaps he should leave the comfy safety of his studio and stand a post in a skirmish line in front of an angry mob that outnumbers him 10 or 20 to 1 for a few hours. He can tolerate being harassed, abused, spat on, and hit in the head with bricks and rocks. Then he can report back to everyone about when *he* thinks non-lethal force should be used.

Oh - and smoke is used a lot in these situations because the mob can't tell the difference between smoke and TG so they run anyway - and you get them to move without actually having to use the stuff - which most cops hate doing because it's a pain in the ass to deal with - even with a mask.

The easiest way to get the cops to stop doing this stuff would be for the "peaceful protesters" to begin policing their own ranks. If they see someone doing something violent, try words first and if that doesn't work, mob them, subdue them, and turn them over to the police. Start doing that again and again, and the cops will begin to know who they can and can't trust on the other side of the line. However, if you continue to allow the minority to be violent, the "peaceful" will end up joining them in the very same soup of smoke, pepper balls, rubber bullets, and in some cases tear gas.

+1 helpful information

Nursing homes are miserable and expensive. Very little living gets done there, but lots of suffering does. A virus that rapidly kills nursing home residents is a blessing to everyone.

A significant portion of nursing home patients are there recovering from hospitalization or sickness and after a few months go back to their normal lives. Sure the hones who never get well again die there, but that doesn't mean we all do.

I do hope there are some large lawsuits against the states that gave these orders.

It's quite obvious at this point that you are not following an ethical philosophy that values every human life.
Veblenist-American-Socialism is the only way forward.
Universal Household Income is politically achievable at this point.
Paul Harder
Lutheran Pastor

So in order to value human life we need to sign on to a big taxpayer-funded program?

"Lutheran Pastor"

How about we keep church and state separate.

Disagree that there has been ample coverage of nursing home deaths as it goes against the effort to keep everyone in prolonged lockdown. The pro-lockdown crowd doesn’t want people to know that such a large fraction of deaths have occurred in nursing homes because they want everyone to feel vulnerable to maintain support for lockdown. That’s why the pro-lockdown crowd actually tries to highlight the most severe cases among children, to counter the empirical fact that children are the least vulnerable

The pro-lockdown crowd similarly tries to downplay the fact that Sweden’s high number of deaths is due to poor nursing home performance rather than lack of general lockdown

Everything is converging to CDC's 0.26% IFR figure, including all the large-scale antibody tests.

IFR for those under 60 is 0.03%. IFR for those under 70 is 0.07%. If you are 35-40, the flu is 2X more likely to kill you.

If we knew the above on Feb 1, then the only thing that would have closed would have been elder care facilities. Remember, the initial belief from experts (WHO, US intelligentsia in late Feb) was 3.4% CFR. Of course, the denominator was unknown meaning the real IFR was unknown. But now that we know...it's pretty safe to say the world response was a massive over-reaction.

Even Sweden was too aggressive.

IFR is accepted to be 0.5-1%

No, on May 24 the CDC revised it downward (again) to 0.26%. That comes from 0.4% fatality rate for symptomatic cases (CFR), and 35% asymptomatic cases (0.4 * (1-0.35)) = 0.26%

Note this is where the Stanford study initially came in . And just about every study since, including the recent Colorado antibody study has arrived at too.

Case Fatality rates by age:

0-49 years old: 0.05%
50-64 years old: 0.2%
65+ years old: 1.3%
Overall ages: 0.4%

That means that the IFR for 0-49 is 0.05 * (1-0.35) = 0.0325% IFR.

Think about that: For those 0 to 50 years old, the IFR is 0.0325. About 1/3rd that of the flu.

We effed up.


It was fog of war. We didn't do a great job at first, but we had to figure out what we were dealing with. As did the entire world.

I give the US response a C-, and without malice. Similar to the 2008 response from the Fed, which took too long as they were figuring out what was happening with events moving very swiftly. The Fed gets a B from me for that. And an A for their response to the lockdown. Powell has done a great job.

Actually, this is an example of the public being far more rational than the media and the pundits.

The number of deaths from/with Covid is not a good metric of Covid severity. All reasonable public health studies use something else as the main metric - life-years lost, quality adjusted life-years lost, etc. The reason for this is simple. Imagine an illness that attacks all those who are about to die from some other cause and accelerates their death by 1 minute. This would be an illness with the annual mortality in the millions and infection mortality rate 100% - based on the standard metrics reported in the headlines it would be the worst disease ever. And yet it is not obvious that this illness really makes that much difference to anyone including those millions of unfortunates who are dying from it. I do not think that public would care much about this hypothetical illness even if it was able to produce the headlines much scarier than ones we have today.

Now, Covid is not quite like that illness and it does kill some people who would have lived for quite a bit longer without it. But the median stay length in US nursing homes in normal times is just 5 months. I am not sure that at nursing homes Covid epidemic is that much different from the hypothetical 1-minute disease.

I agree. To turn the nursing home deaths into Days of Rage would require a great deal of play-pretend on everyone's part, and while many of us are (obviously) game for constant play-pretend in the service of politics/ideology in this country, I think in this case it's far outweighed by the collective and understandable desire to keep nursing homes as far from daily consciousness as possible.

Another weird thing is the role reversal in the latest dispute between Zuckerberg and facebook employees over censoring Trump's tweets. Traditionally, some employees face a choice between risking losing their jobs to stand up for a principle or going along with some heavy handed corporate policy. In the latest controversy, however, it's the employees that are trying to impose a PC-orthodoxy and Zuckerberg is the one taking a principled stand to preserve facebook's political neutrality, risking losing employees as a result. That points to the power of skilled employees and the challenges facing executives that want to remain apolitical and preserve their firms' openness to people across the political spectrum. Strange times.

Michael Jordan is alleged to have once said, when asked to express a left-leaning political view of some sort, "Republicans buy shoes, too."

There is always a danger in trying to impose narratives on the news without having clear evidence of the thoughts and motives of some participants. Maybe Zuckerberg is boldly standing up for free speech. Or maybe he is just worried about pissing off Trump's supporters and pushing them on to other platforms, which ultimately means less advertising revenue for him and his shareholders. Who knows?

Who knows? No one except Zuckerberg.

But who cares? Is my butcher sending me meat because he likes me, or because he has to make a living?

One of the effect of free market is to weaken all the censorship tentation that a society experiences. In both interpretation of Zuckerberg's behavior, this is a case of this working to perfection.

Normally the right wing argues that the media is more governed by profit and there are no Vast Right Wing Conspiracies, while the left argues for vast discretion by right leaning media billionaires to pursue political agendas.

Now should the Zuck take what appears to be a principled stand, that all goes out the window in favour of this stand being mere slavery to market forces.

Zuck is trying not to have his company turned into a public utility.

"That points to the power of skilled employees and the challenges facing executives that want to remain apolitical and preserve their firms' openness to people across the political spectrum. Strange times."

Even in normal times, star athletes like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts after the death of Eric Garner. Businesses that pretend to be apolitical are actually political no matter how hard they try to hide it. Politics is inescapable.

If you view America as a reality television show then it all makes sense. Trump being a reality TV star himself only makes this analogy no longer an analogy but well a reality.

Not a reality TV afficianado myself, but I take it that meltdowns are part of the drama. And there's a lot of melting down going on, a lot of it TDS-based.

I suspect there's an element of guilt in the silence. In many other countries, the practice is family care not institutional care for the elderly. In America, not so much. Not mentioned in Cowen's post is who pays for institutional care of the elderly. Not Medicare. Medicaid. And to qualify, the aging have to rid themselves of pesky little things called assets. Indeed, there's a legal specialty called "elder law", a euphemism for how to qualify the client's mother or grandmother for Medicaid. Yes, I did mean to suggest that it's not the mother or grandmother on the way to the nursing home who is the client.

Al this is discussion shows a lot of bad partisanship and what-aboutism. Now it is the right-wing (including Tyler who, for those who haven't realized, is quite right-wing though in a sometimes Straussian way) which is using Covid 19 and its unavoidable related deaths to minimize the importance of the problem of police (and government) overreach and violence. Before it was the left-wing justifying in the same way the house arrests of hundred of millions of Innocents. Sad.

What over-reach? What violence?

The police might overreach and might not. It is a subject for rational debate.

I would object only to 1) the manufactured race angle, when it's likely these things happen to Blacks, Whites, Asians at rates entirely predicted by criminal involvement, 2) the assumptions that police force can easily be reduced with no real downsides in increased crime and costs. Few people who are involved in the protests seem to really want to have that conversation and acknowledge those realities.

"unavoidable "

Citation needed

"using Covid 19 and its unavoidable related deaths to minimize the importance of the problem of police (and government) overreach and violence. "

If that's what you think TC is doing, then you're not a very careful thinker or charitable interpreter. Presumably you value your credibility?

A big driver is the availability of dramatic high quality cel phone video - there is none for the nursing home issue, there is for the arrest incident.

The media is hyper-partisan. Their business thrives on emotion. Video drives emotion. Politically useful video drives coverage.

I don't think It would really matter if there were dramatic cell phone videos for the nursing home deaths. There is a hyper-partisan filter on which high-quality cell-phone videos are newsworthy. Cops being abusive? Yes (and rightfully so). But this kind of thing (repeated in many places)? Not newsworthy. Such videos circulate only as samizdat on 'less-than-respectable' conservative sites.

"If it bleeds, and a white person is doing it, it leads"?

> I don't think It would really matter if there were dramatic cell phone videos for the nursing home deaths.

Because covid deaths were pretty peaceful. If they were like in the movie Contagion, where foam started pouring out of your mouth and nose as you convulsed, or ebola where you just started bleeding from openings people would be scared out of their minds.

Maybe if you have them sedated with tubes down their throats? I heard some anecdotes about desperately struggling for breath, leaking copious pink fluid out of the mouths and noses, etc.

"This could be an issue for Black Lives Matter, but somehow it isn’t."

If you listen to man on the street interviews, it comes up quite a lot.

People don't do utilitarian calculations when presented with stats, they react intensely to images and narratives.

I live in the UK. My family don't have any vested interests in American political system, but when I explain to them Cuomo nursing home policy they get a bit bored/change topic, and the George Flloyd video brings them to tears.

That video is a shocking story, triggering anger and sadness. I wouldn't ascribe too much of a political/Machiavellian story on top.

The hypocrisy of this situation is that when people also try to show videos of shockingly brutal "migrant crime" and such, which also arouse emotion, we are told to remain calm and rational, that anecdotes aren't evidence, that the "vast majority" (of Blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, whatever) are good.

But these videos of Whites and cops are treated in completely the opposite way by the media. It leans into arousing anti-White, anti-cop protests, based on exactly the kind of videos that were the perps in them not White, not cops, they would decry as unrepresentative and not a basis for reasoned argument. When migrants and minorities do something bad, they argue to dwell on the "vast positives", but when whites and cops do something bad, however rare, it's treated as common and typical.

It’s the state vs. individuals, not black vs. white. Even Arbery was acting under color of state law, purporting to perform a citizens’ arrest. And one of the cops in the Floyd killing was Asian (as seen on the video he was telling bystanders not to intervene), yet there is still outrage, so it’s not a white issue.

There would be no national public outrage if a white guy killed a black guy as part of a personal dispute or a drug deal or whatever. Thousands of murders in the US are committed by whites ever year, presumably some of which have minority victims, without generating national outrage. This is not being “anti-white.”

And yet supposedly these "Karen's" who had no role in law enforcement and no standing in the state and who may have only said something to a black or Asian etc person have also saliently been recirculated as part of this manufactured outrage.

No, there absolutely is a role for race in what videos the media "allows" people to get emotionally aroused by, and those which it insists just create populist anger around issues which must be treated dispassionately, statistically. The tendency of the media to allow and sensationalise videos of whites while censoring out other YouTube hits that might bubble up, is not imaginary.

What do you mean? The only “Karen” incident that sparked outrage recently I can recall is the one where the Karen threatened to call the police on a black Harvard graduate peacefully bird-watching in a park—again involving the state.

I think the racial angle to these protests is overplayed by extremists on both sides. In reality, while most police in the US are good, there is enough of a minority of bad cops that many people of different races can relate to being treated rudely or subjected to various indignities by the police. While black people are most severely affected and thus Black Lives Matter is a rallying point, many people of all races want to see more restrictions and professionalism on the police. Many of the police brutality outrage videos being circulated now show white victims—the most circulated video I’ve seen was probably the white woman in Minnesota who was shot by paintballs even while standing peacefully on her own porch by police marching down a peaceful suburban street dressed like they were about to go into battle in Fallujah.

There are way more videos than that one over the past month and they don't generally involve the state.

Like what? I don’t recall seeing people get really outraged over those though and I have a pretty left-leaning social/social media network. Most Karen videos provoke a bit of mockery and not outrage. The birdwatching one provoked outrage because the black person was put at risk and it showed that even being a middle-aged Harvard graduate won’t protect a black person from being treated like a criminal because they are black.

As to anon, I don't watch videos of "X does bad thing" (whichever group; cops, different racial groups, whatever) because anecdotal and inflammatory and pointless. Look to the statistics instead. But here are a few I remember now (from popping up in newsfeeds), from a quick Google for the relevant keywords, from late May:



Of course, racial harassment happens, but none of these things provoked protests or even widespread social media outrage. People are taking to the streets because of police violence, including violence directed towards whites, not because of Karens.

So your opinion is that the circulation of all those kind of videos - the very clearly disproportionate circulation compared to other video cam footage of incidents involving bad actors of other races - had *no*, *zero* effect on tipping this one man's death into this perception of mass racism and mass protests and mass violence and mass looting and mass rioting? That's your stance?

It's probable that the extreme level of looting/rioting is happening because we are just exiting a 3 month lockdown where younger folks have lost a lot of jobs and had nothing to do. Pent up rage.

If the Floyd video happens 6 months ago, I suspect we would have had protests but not nearly this much looting.

That surely is a factor. But the media sensationalising a series of phone videos and incidents that, from any other "intersection", would be mostly filtered out? Also a factor.

It’s the state vs. individuals, not black vs. white.

No, it's really not. Consider the differences in the treatment of the anti-lockdown protesters vs the anti-police brutality protesters. The received wisdom on the former is that they are at best irresponsible, selfish people (at worst armed dangerous, racist, white-supremacist rednecks) with trivial concerns (haircuts!) who were clearly going to cause a new spike and kill us all. And the latter? Peaceful protesters with important concerns (and social-distancing is not really necessary outdoors anyway). Both groups protesting heavy-handed state actions -- but very different reactions.

No, abusive policing hits white people too. I saw this in my hometown growing up. We had the worst police force in the state of Michigan in the 80s (per a state police study). Our cops were quite happy to rough up white guys (happened to me once, though in a fairly minor way) and they even shot two white guys. The one shooting, if you squint hard, was maybe justifiable. The other incident was far beyond the pale.
No one, whether white, black or ink with purple polka dots, has a interest in abusive policing, and we should all want it stopped.

Is this a video you don't want to see?


Most people are good, but that doesn't mean everyone is making great choices.

I don't watch any such videos because I happen to agree they all arouse emotion that doesn't tell you much about the general issues. Whether they happen to be the cries of a young man set upon by a gang of machete wielding Kurdish immigrants in my neighbourhood (one I rarely watched), or a Floyd.

But I certainly don't hypocritically choose to boost some and not others to advance a political agenda our of pure emotive sensationalisation.

No, you're the guy that thinks "anti-white" is an objective descriptor.

Rather than the red flag it actually is.

Topic shift. Clearly you didn't like where that topic was going.

"anti-black", "anti-asian", "anti-woman", "anti Muslim" absolutely are reasonably common sense objectively knowable descriptors, and are used by the left constantly on the assumption that they are. "anti white" is not the exception that can be erased from reality.

Was it pro-American?

The video is of a white medic talking about being a victim of police brutality. It directly refutes your argument that these protests are “anti-white” but instead shows that the protests are against all police brutality, including where the victims are white.

One video does not refute what the protests are "about", any more than if you showed an anti-fa claiming he was protesting capitalism they would be "about" anti-capitalist. They're clearly about ideas of anti-black racism, for most of the protestors.

Is it so hard to be Americans First?


And as an aside, I think last night confirmed my view that most people are good. Here is how one local community worked things out:

“I was pleased with the whole situation, given what we were anticipating,” Mayor Katrina Foley said Tuesday morning.

“We’ve tried to approach the protests in a balanced way, making sure we have space for people to express their frustration and sorrow and concerns about social justice while, at the same time, preventing criminal acts happening in other cities from happening in our city,” she continued.


Perhaps that is the flexibility Tyler did not expect?

You really have to wonder how much introspection this guy did on his comment.

It would be one thing for an American to say Democrats are not American. It would be crazy, but it would be one thing.

But as I understand it this dude is an Englishman? Trying to tell us the Democrats are not Americans? Kind of amazing.



Dr. Osterholm was advocating testing in the nursing home and their staff at the very beginning, but there was no testing because it was limited to those who displayed symptoms.

That's the scandal.

I usually appreciate Tyler's contrarian takes. However, this one misses the mark. As other commenters have mentioned, police brutality and the shortcomings of the U.S. criminal jutice system are seen as the results of bad intentions. Excess mortality in nursing homes, by contrast, are attributed to suboptimal reactions to an objectively difficult problem. I happen to think both assumptions are correct; either way, they don't seem weird to me.

How could you do anything with respect to nursing homes or staff if you did not have testing?

A nursing home is a gas tank waiting for a match, according to Dr. Osterholm, who strongly recommended testing of nursing home staff at the very very beginning of this crisis, but at that time there was no testing or it was restricted to those who displayed symptoms.

Covid is not the first communicable disease that ever reached a nursing home, but it is the only one that did not have a testing regime in place to test staff or patients.

If people can't acknowledge that some amount of bad policing and shortcomings in a criminal justice system are an unfortunate reality of trying to deal with the "objectively difficult problem" of crime - including higher violent crime rates in some largely African-American communities - then I don't think they're fair-minded or intellectually serious.

It's certainly a situation that warrants strong efforts toward improvement. Chauvin has been charged - as should happen in more cases - and it seems likely that someone with Chauvin's history of use of force complaints should have been off the force before he killed someone. (I write "likely" only because I am aware only of the number of complaints and not the details.)

@Realist: I fully agree that "some amount of bad policing and shortcomings in a criminal justice system" result from decent people trying to do the right thing. Blanket statements about "the police", "the judiciary" etc. are not helpful.

Still, it seems safe to say that a *substantial part* of these problems are seen as resulting bad-faith behavior. Everything is complicated, yes. But if police kill about 1,000 people a year, and in 99% of the cases nobody gets charged (even for killing unarmed people), I find that hard to explain *solely* with a "it's just difficult work" narrative. See https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/, and keep in mind that's just the tip of the criminal justice iceberg.

So, calling it "a situation that warrants strong efforts toward improvement" is correct but sounds a little mild, I think.

OMG, that's the tipping point, I am going crazy!

Welcome to the club. Here's a cookie. Don't eat the cake.

America's reigning myth continues to be The Fountain of Youth: the deaths of old folks are immaterial to America's cults of youth, plus there's some wealth transference to anticipate and appreciate . . .

Pretty much all of this is just another round of "who, whom".

Politicians and partisans have not been serious about Covid for months. After all, if we are really worried about bringing R down massively, then we should be trumpeting every good thing Mr. Trump says to the hills, wildly praising him for whatever minimal competency he shows, and indulging in whatever rhetoric will motivate his base to comply with anti-infection efforts. Attacking him pretty much ensures that some percentage of the population will cease taking Covid seriously and that highly important percentage will actively subvert protective measures. Telling some "unvarnished truth" about Mr. Trump, at best impacts outcomes in November, but the majority of people who will die from Covid will be killed before then. And on it goes. Fighting to keep elective abortions going during a PPE shortage, calling marijuana sales essential but not church services, and the like were at best, right calls on substance that would be totally overwhelmed by the loss of adherence by invested parties. I mean seriously, exactly which left-wing priority has been sacrificed anywhere to get conservative buy-in on Covid?

In like fashion, if your goal is to reopen the economy and prevent a years long depression merely removing legal constraints is pretty weak sauce. You need buy in from the entire population that economic activity can be safely managed. This means that you have to speak to liberal anxieties with the props of scientism to get their buy-in. Saying things were a "hoax" or merely "overblown" is not sufficient. You want to have a nice equation with some kindly expert showing the percentage of spread that happened in which activities. You want to have meticulous data with a preregistered metric for if things are working.

Why are nursing home deaths such a small issue? Because both sides have long ago written these people off.

"hen we should be trumpeting every good thing Mr. Trump says to the hills"

lol, not partisan at all.

I mean seriously, Trump abdicated on COVID almost immediately. He's repeatedly said it would just go away.

But our "non partisan" buddy here thinks the important thing is to fluff Trump, as he punts and now leaves essentially everything to the states.


The fact that Trump has been wrong and had numerous failures is not relevant for limiting infection spread. Infection control is not a morality play. If praising Trump gets 5% more people to wash their hands, avoid large gatherings, or not shake hands that is likely more important than anything I am seeing on the bills coming out of Congress.

I am sorry that stopping infection would require political sacrifices. I am sorry that the best path forward from a public health standpoint would reward failure and feed an oversized ego. But we live in an imperfect world and the people who have the most impact are the ones least likely to comply when "their guy" is being "attacked".

You can, legitimately, care more about other issues. But if the goal is simple infection prevention, talking down Trump is an evidence based way stymie that. We have known, for decades, that attacking, belittling, and mocking cultural leaders is counterproductive in epidemics - even when they are wrong and being counterproductive themselves.

If a second wave materializes, I hope that punishing Trump is worth the marginal deaths that come from alienating his followers.

Maybe you overstated your case, but for what it's worth, here is what I see:

Trump: "I will end US support for the WHO and all the work they do world-wide."

You: "we should be trumpeting every good thing Mr. Trump says to the hills"

That may or may not be one of the good things but it has nothing to do with infection spread so no reason to trumpet that.

I'll make this a two-part post to complete the thought.

Do you think pulling out of the WHO was good?

Or do you think fluffing Trump would have prevented it?

Better than reforming it? Perhaps not. But would anyone accept Trump leading reform of it, anyway? Even pro-Trump voices would doubt he's competent to it.

Better than patting it on the back and giving a "great job" for falsely praising China to try and pump them for information, leading directly to complacency in Western Europe, directly to the outbreak there, which leads directly to New York? Hard boundaries are good, sometimes.

Was personally reforming it the only option Trump had?

Was he under any deadline to "reform or withdraw?"

Or could he in fact have delegated to the best candidate in the US to pressure for change over coming years?

Definitely there are those other options. I think some sort of action while political immediacy and fuel is present can be argued for (go hard at the WHO and go early; can kicking not an option).

But I can't say it's the best option, only that it's far from crazy in a world of restricted possibilities.

Personally I think that last is the best choice. You find some spot in the US health infrastructure that is "counterpart" to the WHO, and you staff that with the right kind of person.

And then as President you say the right kind of truths/platitudes, that you are disappointed with the WHO, but looking for positive change.

I neither know nor care if pulling out of the WHO was good. For this pandemic they have been worse than useless to me as a professional.

And yes I think you could have easily backed Trump into an ultimatum. Have Nancy Pelosi go to the President and say "I share your concerns about undue Chinese influence, general incompetence, and a horridly wasteful culture. That is why I think the United States should make an ultimatum. Unless the WHO does the following [list of very good reforms], there will be bipartisan withdrawal of US support for the WHO."

Odds are Trump and his campaign handlers would eat that up. Odds are the rest of the world would be a bit more keen to reform the WHO if failure meant a real risk for permanent loss of US funding.

I mean seriously, I cannot have been the only one here to have ever had to run interference for an incompetent boss.

At the end of the day Trump made his decisions, he will answer to voters for them. Pelosi and the rest are choosing to antagonize Mr. Trump and score electoral points. That is a far thing to do in an election year, but only if you value the outcome of the election more than containing Covid and however many lives you estimate that will cost. Because I have seen zero changes in Trump's behavior due to Democratic mockery and derision. But I have seen a lot of patients change their tune in solidarity with the President when he is "attacked".

And formally, for the record, I think both set's of partisan leader as doing middling job with moments of severe deficiencies. I just cannot see the point in scolding a narcissist, my experience treating them suggests it will not induce change and Mr. Trump is exactly the sort of tribal leader they teach rank medical students not to belittle when trying elicit patient compliance.

....What? That actually looks like what is happening....

The lockdowns will have had a significantly worse effect, long-term than a minor virus.

The lockdowns were so blatantly political that anyone can look and say 'Oh this isn't actually serious its all politics,' and now when left-wing protesters are busy burning down minority communities and business, suddenyl the lockdowns, social distancing, etc no longer matter.

Try to be serious here, everyone knew by April 1 that this wasn't a serious virus for anyone but the elderly and infirm, after April 1 it became an exercise in control and political muscle flexing.

You haven't heard, have you ..


That the cure is worse than the disease doesn't mean there's no disease. Likewise, that country A had a higher death rate (from CV-19 specifically) than country B doesn't refute that it's primarily a disease of the old and infirm.

Well over 100,000 people have died and more every day

"we should be trumpeting every good thing Mr. Trump says to the hills, wildly praising him for whatever minimal competency he shows"

Appeasing a narcissist is usually not a good idea. You may disagree with the left's tactics but setting hard boundaries is tried and true.

So how many dead people is that hard boundary worth?

Assume we have a second wave that is around a quarter of the first (call it 25,000 dead). Suppose it follows an logarithmic curve and Trump's partisans lead to a 10% increase in spread rate leading up to the peak (e.g. they lock down later, go to more large gatherings, and some tiny minority do risky things just to piss off liberals), that would be something like 4,000 more deaths due to exponential dynamics. Is this an acceptable trade-off for maintaining your hard boundary?

Why do you think(*) you have all the dead people on your side of the equation?

* - WHO, Trump's personal mask practices, Trump's playing the "Freedom" card even as infection spreads

'all the dead people on your side of the equation' = what? 0?
Trump was locking down when the liberals were fighting it, then opened up when the liberals cries there'd be a huge uptick - which never happened. California went along and did well. NY did not, and did not.

As for masks, CDC, the WHO and NEJM all came out for mask usage for caregivers of the sick only. Trump was correct again. Not really Trump though, he was just smart enough to listen to knew better.

The WHO has been worse than useless this time around. Is now the correct time to pull out or even pull out at all? Search me. Does pissing and moaning about it do a damn thing?


Again, what is the end goal with lambasting Mr. Trump for this decision? Let's grant it is wholly reckless and counterproductive. Do you anticipate that any amount of scolding will cause him to change course? Do you suspect that Congress will be willing to play hardball on some must past legislation (like the next round of Covid money) if only a loud enough cry is raised? Calling Mr. Trump wrong and an idiot, even if wholly true, would not change the effects of pulling out of the WHO. Whereas having 5 or 10% of the country doubling their transmission rate because they think the WHO is bunk and start writing off things said by the people we really want listening.

As far Trump's personal mask preferences, I use this one all the time. As the President said, "Wearing masks is a recommendation." Do I give a rat's ass that the sentence or two before was about he did not plan to wear one personally? If patients give me pushback, I talk about how he mentions that his staff is regularly tested and patients rarely have that luxury.

As far as the "freedom card", I play that one myself. To the mark one eyeball it looks like locally we have had more people die from being afraid to come to the hospital during heart attacks, strokes, and the like than we have to straight Covid.

Again, what does making the comments actually do?

I have seen zero policy changes from calling Trump an idiot when he is being an idiot. I have seen a lot of Trump supporters engage in better behavior when they see their tribal leader being treated well.

And I would note, I sing the same tune about economics. Republicans and conservatives are already going to be a lot more prone to reopen business, go out to eat, and the like. Rallying to the economy with talk of "liberty" or "personal responsibility" is not going to convince the people who disagree. And I do not see a full economic recovery happening if even 10% of the population are a bunch of liberals holed up in their apartments in fear of infection.

We shouldn't criticize any leader ever for anything.

Only if you are claim that infection controls is your single most important objective in the midst of a pandemic highly contingent on personal behavior.

If your single most important goal is expanding abortion access, have at. Trump's partisans are a sunk cost and your ability to convince them is likely close to nil. You would be far better served by riling up your base to win the next election than seeking any sort understanding from the 10% of the American population less amenable to your positions.

Likewise, if your goal is increase fossil fuel exploration on federal lands, again making nice with the opposition will do precious little for you.

But for infection control? That is all about having the public comply with medical advice. For that we have reams of data showing real gains to be had by playing nice with their cultural leaders even when said leaders are being actively harmful.

* - pumping both questionable cures, and straight up crazy stuff like disinfectants or UV "put into the body."

* - pushing Fauci off-stage and personally mismanaging response.


"straight up crazy stuff like disinfectants or UV "put into the body."

Both of which are being pursued by biomed companies.

If Trump's supporters would rather "Live Free or Die" then should we not in a free society respect their wishes even if we don't agree with it and they were informed of the consequences? I'm one of those that doesn't care about the spread of COVID-19. To me the CFR is low enough. But since you seem to be more concerned, then the civil unrest that Trump is fanning the flames of is much more deadly from a COVID standpoint since the exponential growth would start from a much bigger base and have a higher R0 than the tiny numbers of COVID hoaxers who tend to segregate into their own bunkers. This would certainly lead to more than your projected 4000 deaths.

Let's flip this around. Why doesn't Trump say a few words about how bad policing is unacceptable which is so completely tautological, bipartisan, and an easy way for a narcissist to "look good"? Imagine how many lives and businesses would be spared from the destruction in the streets.

"Why doesn't Trump say a few words about how bad policing is unacceptable..."

Why assume that he hasn't already?

He spoke about the Lloyd incident and aftermath at a speech at NASA. I then had CNN, MSNBC et al lie right to my face that he didn't address this subject (in a manner comforting to the nation, etc.).

The distrust of anti-Trump media outlets is at fever pitch, and for good reason; too bad this has negative consequences for things like public health, huh?

Trump, as unfortunately as his way, has certainly said and tweeted things that were unhelpful to the situation.

He also, however, tweeted this on May 27 ( https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1265774767493148672 ):

"At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd....I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement. My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!"

The above was before Chauvin was charged by local prosecutors (which occurred on May 29).

Echoing Ultimate Philosopher's comment, here's the full text of Trump's speech on Saturday at Kennedy Space Center ( https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-kennedy-space-center/ ). Quoting just the first two paragraphs:

"Before going further on this exciting day for all America in space, I want to say a few words about the situation in Minnesota. The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never have happened. It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger, and grief.

Yesterday, I spoke to George’s family and expressed the sorrow of our entire nation for their loss. I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace. And I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack, and menace. Healing, not hatred; justice, not chaos are the mission at hand."

Again, do you suspect that calling out Mr. Trump's behavior will change it?

If his supporters perceive the folks arguing for various forms of infection control as being unfair and disrespectful, they will change their actions.

So on the one side I see only some catharsis for calling Trump an idiot yet again. On the other I see changes in behavior that could kill people.

This is not fair. It is not right. And it is arguably immoral.

Yet that is the world we live in.

My position does not rest on Mr. Trump being wise, correct, moral, or helpful. All it does is rely on the very real fact that this presidency has never been responsive to liberal or media critiques while his supporters have been highly responsive to perceived attacks.

>"There are plenty of condemnations of technology billionaires, but very few of....."

Surely he's going to finish this sentence with "Governor Cuomo," right? The guy who actually ordered nursing home CEOs to admit infected people? They guy who would put nursing home CEOs in prison if they did not infected people? It has been clear cut insanity that not only has Cuomo NOT been crucified over this, he has instead been cheered and celebrated and promoted for higher office... it's a no-brainer to point this out, right?

>".... nursing-home CEOs."

Jesus Freaking Christ. Tyler and Reality; may they never meet.

This is all text book Martin Guri at this point.

Dude looks like a fking human god prophet at this point.

He and Peter Turchin are coming out of all of this looking great.

Echoing some points here and adding another, that the "scandal" of COVID-19 in nursing homes is not necessarily unique to COVID-19.

Skilled nursing versus inpatient rehab versus assisted living versus inpatient hospice are at least as different as the various units of a hospital but the data are often lumped together, meaninglessly, into "nursing homes". So "40%" or whatever is shorthand at best.

Public policy has long favored big metro hospitals over smaller, dispersed post-acute care facilities, and state executive branches protected their hospital cash/influence cows at grandma's expense. Certainly the AHA is a willing victim, but government at every level seems to cripple post-acute care (and even moreso homecare and telemedicine) because the federal funding / credentialing & licensure shakedown / employment factory scheme is much more easily enforced on a giant stationary box with one roll-up National Provider Identification number.

That the state and muni executives in question here were largely Dems is probably a function of virology / geography / demographics and not just pure media bias. The virus hit big cities hardest; reporters live in big cities and their influence flows from their access to politicians; big-city voters elect Democrats. (Florida does make for an interesting counterpoint.)

Plus: Hazmat suits and body bags in a Bronx ICU are more arresting visuals than socially distanced meal hour at some 50-bed SNF in Auburn Hills. The lack of both social media and media-media coverage of the crisis in post-acute care reflected that disparity.

The medical fields, nursing in particular, are (no other word for it) bigoted against post-acute care specialties and almost certainly that prejudice resulted in redirected PPE, staffing, and administrative resources from post-acute facilities toward hospitals. Eldercare is unsexy and a little thing like a global pandemic disproportionately fatal to the low-income elderly isn't going to make a dent in Big Medicine's cultural bias toward glass-tower, high-prestige research/surgeries/devices/drugs.

We should all admit the truth.
People are put into nursing homes to die.
Covid-19 just expedites the process.

Even if all of the workers at a nursing home are candidates for sainthood, it is still a tough job with a grim reality.

Well, no sh*t Sherlock.

This country is absolutely incoherent about the value of life and significance of preventable deaths.

Be it gun violence, toxic pollution, medical accidents and hospital acquired infections, auto safety, or climate change.

Some times it just doesn't matter. Other times, as in the case of 9/11, a few thousand lives is enough to send an entire nation on a never-ending spasm of violence, bankruptcy, and self-destruction.

I know I'm a square, and I tend to have very conventional reactions to things - nice things: nicer than nasty ones - but I'm honestly finding it a little weird that Fifth Avenue looks like Kristallnacht, and the most socially acceptable response seems to be along the lines of, oh well, property is theft, or short of that - we can always replace things!

For the first time in my life, perhaps, I am genuinely curious about what's going on in other people's heads; I mean, not the pundits or twitterers, but the silent people.

After years of watching the right and their overblown faux rage, this is what real pent-up rage looks like.

The reaction is not "oh well" The reaction is: sooner or later this was bound to happen, so at least most of the crowds have been peaceful and most of the violence has been directed at stuff rather than other people.

Compared to white-on-black race rage that involved scores of murders and beatings each time, and to the right wingers who go off the deep end in spasms of bombs and guns, this has remained pretty tame by comparison.

Are you saying this is a delayed, or echoed, reaction to events of the distant past, or a reaction to something more recent? If the latter, what specifically do you see as the conditions that made it "bound to happen"?

um, yes.

Whether you agree with the analysis or not, or rather whether or not you agree these are legitimate grievances, the case for the precipitating factors is fairly well laid out at this point. You already know this, I suspect.


Maybe if this were some other comment forum.

But on this one, where if nothing else there's a reasonable expectation that people are, however quirkily, as stirred by math as by vague rhetoric, I can't say I do.

"but very few of nursing-home CEOs"

Were nursing-home CEOs given a choice?

just how weird are things now?
-the new northern liberal democratic elite litmus test is making other
people physically kneel (bend a knee)

Hah, now that you come to mention it, that's pretty primate-dominance-struggle, right?

we bet coerced kneel/don't kneel
gonna be a new wedge issue/video opportunity for cnn.con

hey harvard
what is that 5 years from the nudge to forced kneeling?
that's was pretty quick

"Looks matter everywhere and academia is no exception..."

Kinda makes life unfair, huh? Where are the Rawlsians when you need them . . .

The vast majority of nursing home COVID deaths are in places where the state government doesn't permit nursing homes to turn away patients for having COVID or even test them for COVID. This is law in New York, Michigan, and California. So when those states' governors sent COVID-positive patients to nursing homes, they knew they would be killing large numbers of the existing patients and staff. Those three governors need to go on trial for murder immediately.

I believe the issue is if a nursing home is licensed, and one of its residents contracts covid, it is obligated to continue care at the facility, since its licensure is conditioned on being able to handle communicable disease. In fact, if hospitals are overloaded, the nearest alternative is a nursing home which is required and licensed to be able to handle communicable diseases. Also, some nursing homes were trying to dump their covid patients on hospitals because it cost more money to take care of them.

Hmmm. Nobody so far here has recognized that when NY and NJ and the rest decided to send covid-19 patients to nursing homes, they were apparently following advice given to them by the Trump White House and the CDC. Really, some of you pro-Trump partisans calling various governors "murderers" should cool it a bit. This is soomewhat complicated, to put it mildly.

...to be fair, that cop who killed Floyd was not a 'murderer' either. He was a manslaughterer for sure.

In my country it would hinge on whether or not the officer intended to kill the victim. I am sure in court he would say he did not. Of course, if some chavs held a police officer down and one throttled him to death there is an excellent chance murder charges would result.

...that the cop intended to kill Floyd. He was just completely unfit for the job and botched it badly and someone lost their life because of him. The purest definition of the legal term 'manslaughter'.

The thing I thing that infuriates people the most is that if you watch the video, you can tell by the look on his face, behavior, manner, that he's kind of getting off on the power. The guy was having anxiety attacks over getting into the back of the squad car, there was literally no reason to kneel on his neck. He was not trying to run away. The cop just enjoyed restraining him.

So many people, before they are old and sick enough to go to a nursing home, say, that they want to be let die rather than being put in a nursing home, that I'm not surprised at all. I think many are thinking better to die of covid19 in 2 weeks than linger in a nursing home.

The fact that people can be kept alive in nursing homes at great cost and that when the time comes people prefer that to death, though in most of their lives they said they'd prefer death, is a really problem. It makes me think of signaling.

I think many people have mixed feeling when, for example a parent dies in nursing home. One feeling is sadness at loss but another is relief as a difficult moral burden has been lifted.

Another is relief that a parent’s pointless and often prolonged suffering is ended. Walk around an assisted living or particularly a memory care unit.

Agree. I find it weird that many people maintain the pretense that those lives are equally valuable to that of a healthy child. Does egalitarianism (or whatever you want to call it) force people to be stupid?

Elderly Lives don't matter. We are no longer productive and our values are not respected. This virus has been named the "Boomer Remover" by the young adults.

It wouldn't surprise me if this were a good part of it. Elderly people warehoused in group homes instead of with their families is probably a little shameful to people. They don't even like to think about it. Plus, they're expensive and eat through inheritances fast.

Well, yes. Elderly lives don't matter nearly as much as children, young adults and pretty much everyone else younger than them. And I suspect the elderly in nursing homes would agree.

The idea that the life of an 80 year old with dementia, who maybe has only a couple of years left, matters as much as a healthy 4 year old with a good 80 years in front is what is wierd, not the reverse.

It's not about productivity, it's about how many life-years you're going to lose if you die now. Also the fact that your parents are probably dead already and your children grown so you're not going to leave behind parents who are grieving a child or young children who are losing a parent. By the time you hit 80, your kids are generally adults who are capable of taking care of themselves.

So yeah, there's objective reasons why the death of 80 year olds in nursing homes doesnt arounse as much public outrage.

The only point of "Black Lives Matter" is making White people pay. Robert Johnson now wants $14 TRILLION in reparations (yeah, t trillion). It will never be enough.

Somehow this column seems to miss many obvious differences:
1) People in nursing homes are dying already. People killed by police are generally those with many more years left to live.
2) Many have complained about Covid's disproportionate impact on low income and minority populations.
3) Deaths at the hands of police are the tip of the iceberg---the most visible and dramatic examples of the social problems.

Yeah, somebody like Kevin Mason had years of life left, and a lot more good to do in the world for sure.

The nursing home deaths are perceived as a tragedy, not negligence.

Anyone seen this?

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