Saturday, April 4, 2020

A coronavirus recession will mean more robots and fewer jobs

The novel coronavirus pandemic is certainly not good for the labor market. Recent weeks have seen unemployment claims surge to record levels as businesses and entire industries shutter in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19. As a result, the economy has plummeted, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 down more than 20 percent from their February highs. While social distancing measures may be temporary, this economic downturn’s effect on the labor market will have long-lasting effects. In a joint post with his colleagues, Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director at the Brookings...

Why Battlestar Galactica is the perfect quarantine marathon

Few TV shows have spoken to the unrelenting chaos of the still-young 21st century as well as Battlestar Galactica, which aired on Syfy from 2003 to 2009. A remake of the critically panned 1978 series — itself a poorly disguised attempt to rip off Star Wars and make into a TV show — the new Battlestar Galactica took most of the good ideas from its predecessor (humanity on the run from murderous robots, a complicated mythology built around some combination of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 signs of the zodiac, and a search for a long-missing Earth)...

Partisanship is the strongest predictor of coronavirus response

The US is a land divided. Americans have sorted themselves into opposing factions, with different values, sources of authority, and shared understandings. In some ways, there is no longer any meaningful US “public,” but rather two publics that want and believe different things. The current state of deep polarization in the US is the subject of a great deal of discussion and research right now, including in an excellent new book by my colleague Ezra Klein. One aspect of it that I have highlighted in a number of posts (start here) is what I call America’s epistemic crisis. Epistemology...

The Instacart strike, explained

Some workers for Instacart, one of the most popular US grocery delivery apps, went on strike Monday, demanding better pay and health protections as they risk exposing themselves to the coronavirus to deliver essentials to people on lockdown. Instacart and other grocery delivery workers are facing soaring demand — as much as 65 percent more compared to the same time last year across the top three services in the first week of March alone. But many of them say they feel increasingly unsafe doing their jobs because the companies they work for are not providing basic support, like giving them...

Democrats are ready to start work on a fourth coronavirus bill....

The House and Senate likely won’t return to Capitol Hill until April 20 at the earliest, but that’s not stopping House Democrats from thinking about a fourth coronavirus stimulus package. One major initiative Democrats are already contemplating is an infrastructure bill, particularly related to coronavirus recovery. A list could include expanding America’s broadband and 5G internet to allow more Americans to work from home; modernizing hospitals and community health care centers; and updating crumbling water pipelines. “The fourth bill would be about recovery,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters on a Monday press call. “We would like to see...

N.K. Jemisin’s new book begins with a virus in New York....

In The City We Became, the new novel by N.K. Jemisin, an infection is spreading across New York City. It spreads rapidly from person to person, and its goal is nothing less than to destroy everything that makes New York a living, breathing, vital organism. To leave it a husk of itself. The City We Became is strange to read right now in a way that Jemisin — the only person ever to win the prestigious Hugo Award three years in a row — could not possibly have predicted. The infection in her fantasy New York City is a...

Trump says 200,000 Americans could die from coronavirus, because he’s done...

President Donald Trump just dramatically redefined success on the country’s response to the coronavirus. Barely a month ago, Trump claimed the coronavirus would go away on its own. Then he said it paled in comparison to the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, which killed about 12,500 Americans. Now he’s saying that the estimates showing Covid-19 could kill 100,000 Americans — roughly equivalent to two Vietnam Wars or 38 September 11 attacks — actually reflect how effective he’s been. During a news conference on Sunday, Trump said that a final US coronavirus death toll somewhere in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 people...

The US needs foreign doctors and nurses to fight coronavirus. Immigration...

Right now, the biggest worry is whether the medical system has enough ventilators and protective equipment to treat patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But another troubling shortage is on the horizon: doctors, nurses, and other health care personnel. As patient demand continues to ramp up nationwide and more health care workers are unable to show up for work, either because they contract the virus or because they have to self-quarantine, doctor shortages are a real possibility, Cynthia Cox, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Vox. “There is a very real risk of provider shortages...

No “packed churches” on Easter: Trump extends social distancing through April

President Donald Trump has spent many of his recent daily coronavirus press conferences bragging about his administration’s response, promoting unproven treatments, attacking the press, and suggesting he planned to stop recommending social distancing. Sunday, he continued to do the first three things, but took a new and more sober stance on the timeline for ending social distancing — announcing plans to extend his support for the measure by one month. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all,” Trump said. “The better you do, the faster this whole...

Trump is bragging on Twitter about his coronavirus briefings getting lots...

President Donald Trump boasted about the ratings of his daily live news conferences on the coronavirus Sunday, and suggested that the large viewer numbers — rather than the misleading remarks he has made during them — are fueling discussions in the media about ending the practice of broadcasting them live and unfiltered. “Because the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, ‘Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the , the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. Because the “Ratings” of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type...