6 June 2020 – Saturday – #83

Spain has retested and so far, so good.

The results indicate no major resurgence of the virus in this period, and confirm geographical variations observed the first time around. They also underscore the role of asymptomatic spreaders and the greater presence of the coronavirus in large cities.

El País, “Spain’s macro study shows just 5.2% of population has contracted the coronavirus,” 5 May 2020.

In the previous nationwide test, Spain had an overall Covid-19 seroprevalence of 5.0%. This has grown to 5.2%, indicating no major outbreaks since relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions began.

Resting on its laurels for a bit, Spain is taking a more conservative position on re-opening its borders than its neighbors. While Italy’s borders are open and most of the rest of Europe wants to open mid-June, Spain prefers to wait until July 1. I suspect one reason Spain wants to wait is to bolster its Covid-19 testing capacity.

Watching from Barcelona, it’s hard to understand what is going on in the US.

The protests over the police murder of George Floyd and Covid-19 have at least one thing in common. So many Black men die in the US at the hands of police that both police brutality and Covid-19 are legitimate public health issues.

The same way that Trump couldn’t figure out how to take political advantage of Covid-19, he can’t figure out how to take political advantage of the protests. With Covid-19, he pitted the economy against public health. With the protests, he’s trying to play Americans against each other, encouraging police to brutalize peaceful protesters into submission. As with Covid-19, Trump is missing the point. Most Americans don’t want to be against one another and they don’t want fellow citizens to die needlessly.

During the protests, the police have been their own worst enemy, making the case against themselves that police brutality is a problem in the US. It’s not difficult to find evidence of gratuitous police brutality in social media feeds. Here’s one comprehensive documentary Twitter thread that makes several cases against police.

The police are not factoring Covid-19 safety into their response to the George Floyd protests. This is a stark contrast to hands-off police response to anti-lockdown protests a few weeks earlier. Police attacking George Floyd protesters are exacerbating dangerous conditions during the pandemic. For instance, tear gas increases the chance of Covid-19 transmision.

Scientists know little about how [the chemical in tear gas] affects the general public. The most comprehensive studies were conducted by the U.S. military on thousands of recruits who were exposed to tear gas during training exercises. Afterward, it left them at higher risk for contracting influenza, pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.

ProPublica, “Tear Gas Is Way More Dangerous Than Police Let On — Especially During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” 4 June 2020.

Tear gas also forces people to remove masks while coughing, further increasing infection risk.

In one of many strange episodes from the government response to protesters, an unknown government agency confiscated Covid-19 masks being sent from a small business to protesters. How much more clear could it be that the government wanted protesters to infect each other? Then the Feds released the masks. It seems that the Feds know more about what the protesters are doing than about how to produce Covid-19 test kits. This episode speaks volumes about Trump’s focus on anything other than public health.

There’s another similarity to George Floyd protests and Covid-19. Turns out the behavior of a bad cop is “infectious.” That is, hiring someone with a record of bad policing behavior is a recipe to spread bad behavior through a police force just like singing with someone who has Covid-19 is a recipe to spread the virus through the chorus.

As with Covid-19, we can use contact tracking to follow the bad cops.

Covid-19 is such a drag.

And who else but drag queens can figure out how to have a little fun during a pandemic.

“We’re uniquely equipped to deal with this moment in time. As an artistic entity, so much of the beauty we’ve made over the decades and centuries has been fueled by adversity, and pushing back under circumstances that don’t necessarily set us up for success to begin with.”

BenDeLaCreme, Former “Drag Race” All Star

I ended in Paris yesterday. I’ll end in virtual drag Paris today.

Juku performing La vie en rose for the Biqtch Puddin’ Digital Drag Show
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