Genève Campbell Profile picture
screaming into the void
EricStoner Profile picture fche Profile picture Mareebz Profile picture Sheri B Profile picture Potato of Reason Profile picture 7 added to My Authors
1 May
Just left a consignment store after dropping off some outgrown baby stuff—all clothes are quarantined for seven(!!) days.

I asked the owner. “Nobody wants their sweet baby to get covid.”

Does this level of widespread misinformation on mechanism of spread exist outside of SF?
We were having this conversation indoors, doors and windows closed. 🙃
I just don’t know how we move on from here. At this point, the stuff we have stuck with is so ingrained. It’s ritual, like a rain dance.

Let alone the lack of perspective regarding relative risk vis à vis the burden undertaken to mitigate that risk.
Read 4 tweets
30 Apr
Such a good question! On the philosophy side: our incredibly dumb and getting dumber discourse as simulation/hyperreality (Baudrillard); a pathologizing trajectory post-enlightenment (Foucault); hubris of man over nature and iatrogenesis (Illich); the state of exception...
...vis à vis controlling bodies (Agamben); the banality of evil (Arendt); “control society” (Deleuze).

On the sociology-adjacent side, but really as catch-all for the rest: the brittleness of scientific institutions and the concept of paradigm shift (Kuhn);...
...manufacturing consent (Chomsky), which in this case has become autonomous as part of our outrage economy (Taibbi); your pick of some historical materialist class analysis (take your pick!) to explain the political economy part (plus Turchin and Gurri to update it);...
Read 5 tweets
30 Apr
On epistemic humility...

It’s clear that we don’t fully understand exactly the timing of these waves around the country and the world. Seasonality, stochasticity, NPIs, sure, but... there’s obviously unknown exogenous factors influencing specific intervals across geographies.
And yet there are a number of factors—political, professional, social—in not publicly broadcasting this. That we really just don’t know for certain. I wish it was more acceptable to admit that all existing explanations fall short. That uncertainty, confusion are OK. (Good, even!)
Anyway, I hope when consensus coalesces around explanatory variables in 90 years, it’s not only entirely outside of our paradigm but also really, really stupid.

Like, semi-predictable regional waves are instigated by an increase in seasonally-shed cat dander. Or the moon!
Read 4 tweets
29 Apr
I can’t ignore the sense of unreality that I feel as I contemplate the change in my politics. “Did I move, or has the left? Has my ideology shifted, or has theirs?”

This past year has been such a revelation. A falling of scales from the eyes, I guess.
I now recognize tools of shame and control, the authoritarian framework of many politics (not necessarily the ideology, but the application) of the contemporary left. Progressivism as a culture of conformity, the intolerance for anything outside of a narrow spectrum of opinion.
Why didn't I see it before? I think, maybe, because I was (and still am) invested in fighting for the underdog, in ensuring fairness and justice and all that good stuff. I just thought the right was the enforcer of that oppression. (They still are, but through a different mode.)
Read 6 tweets
28 Apr
This is austerity being sold as public health.

CUNY will continue to be mostly remote in Fall 2021. Their reopening timeline is absolutely stunning:

citytech.cuny.edu/reopening/city…
In Fall 2021, “in response to the COVID-19 pandemic” at CUNY:

“Areas such as the Library, Learning Centers, Computer Labs and Cafeterias will not be opened. Additionally, extracurricular activities are not planned for the Fall.”

“Lounges and other gathering spaces closed.”
Fall 2022 campus reopening plans at CUNY: “Strict adherence to social distancing and masking.”
Read 7 tweets
27 Apr
A lot of the CDC decisions—the really nonsensical stuff where toddlers, but not vaccinated adults, must continue wearing masks outdoors—make more sense when viewed through the lens of a professionalization-driven quest to neatly “complete” the pandemic. Tie it off with a bow.
The pandemic will end in the US through vaccination. It’s a miracle of human ingenuity. I am so grateful.

Yet wholly defanging the virus in a population through widespread vaccination of the at-risk isn’t enough. This is Fauci’s white whale.
Until vaccines are available for the youngest kids, I’m not sure the CDC will insinuate that it’s “OK” to accept a non-zero number of cases by dropping all NPIs.

Despite covid being less of a risk to them than other ambient risks readily accepted without hesitation pre-2020.
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
I, too, want to understand a bit more what’s happening in SF and a few other places—the high concentration of IRL friends paralyzed by covid concerns, even post-vaccination.

I have a very close friend who is a pediatric OT and works with children with motor delays... 1/🧵
A majority of her patients will still only do OT sessions over Zoom, saying their kids can’t resume in-person therapy until they themselves (the kids) are vaccinated. This didn’t surprise me; I live here.

When I told this to another friend, a teacher in TX, she was floored. 2/
I don’t think we’ve gotten a handle around just how geographically-dependent the median covid response is. And how differently the average person has internalized the pandemic threat, depending on where they live.

So why is that? 3/
Read 4 tweets
26 Apr
Those who have reflexively regurgitated a year’s worth of partisan talking points can’t fathom that our enormous, exceedingly specific and “scientific” sacrifices may have had little to do with actual outcomes.
If red states aren’t absolutely plague-ridden, what does that imply about much of what was supposedly a moral imperative to “save lives?”

In order to square the circle on restrictions as empirical necessity, reflexive partisans must deny reality. Cognitive dissonance in action.
The widely-held view that Florida and Texas (and any state where the Wrong Guys are in charge) is engaging in a watertight, widespread conspiracy to hide covid deaths—where nurses, hospital administrators, funeral homes, everyone are all in on it—is left-wing QAnon.
Read 4 tweets
21 Apr
Dr. Fauci was asked why Texas, with no statewide restrictions, hasn’t yet seen a surge this spring, unlike other states.

His answer? It’s not the mandates that matter, it’s behavior. And Texans are simply behaving better than people in Michigan.

Just watch. It’s astounding.
Jordan comes off as a hostile, blabbering goober, but I don’t expect much from the guy; he bottomed out a while ago for me.

I do expect better from our pandemic response figurehead, director of the NIAID, chief medical advisor to the president. Zero epistemic humility here.
Last month, remember, Fauci said Texas removing its mask mandate was “inexplicable” and “would lead to a surge in cases.” But it hasn’t, and cases have surged in places like Michigan.

His explanation?

“There’s a difference in ‘lockdown’ and people obeying the lockdown.”
Read 6 tweets
19 Apr
“The vaccines have nearly eliminated death, hospitalization and other serious Covid illness among people who have received shots. Yet many vaccinated people continue to obsess over the risks from Covid”

nytimes.com/2021/04/19/bri…
“A vaccinated person’s chances of getting Covid are about one in 11,000. The chances of a getting a version any worse than a common cold are even more remote. But they are not zero. And they will not be zero anytime in the foreseeable future.”

nytimes.com/2021/04/19/bri…
“If you’re vaccinated, Covid presents a minuscule risk to you, and you present a minuscule Covid risk to anyone else. A car trip is a bigger threat, to you and others.”

nytimes.com/2021/04/19/bri…
Read 4 tweets
17 Apr
To my Ontario friends...

Can I share what helped me get through dark days in California? When we were knee-deep in our own reactive, political, anti-scientific monomania. When it was clear we were doing all the wrong things, and none of the right ones... 1/
I would think about the needless damage being done. To the poor. To children. To the social fabric. It was like being forced to watch a loved one self-harm, but unable to reach out and help. Paralyzed. And it was all being done in the name of Science. 2/
In order for this paradigm to be rejected, though, Canada needs an Ontario. Just like the US needed a California.

The logical conclusion of these stupid policies. The ritual bloodletting, economic self-flagellation, pointlessness of all of it. It needs to be viewed in relief. 3/
Read 6 tweets
15 Apr
At least he’s now consistent with his March ‘20 opinion, which was:

“This is like trying to stop the wind. You never hear anybody say in a bad seasonal flu year, “We’re going to stop this one.” If you don’t a vaccine that works, you don’t. It’s just breathing, that’s all it is.”
This sort of “expert opinion” was the prevailing one in the field until an epistemic shift over the course of a few weeks in March/April 2020 in which the trajectory of the pandemic could be fully manipulated as a matter of brute force.

Pre-shift artifact:
“China beat the pandemic, Europe crushed it, our toddler president and his dumb followers are the things standing in the way of us beating it, too. We’re the only country who has failed so horribly. Come on, we can do this!” was such an unhelpful framing. theatlantic.com/health/archive…
Read 5 tweets
12 Apr
Employees returning to @Salesforce offices, all fully-vaccinated, will be be tested twice weekly.

What’s the science behind this, @Benioff?
A recipe for medical theater:

✔️ 1 part “we need to encourage those already vaccinated but still, for some reason, anxious about returning!”

✔️ 1 scoop “well, we already signed those testing contracts, plus we can use our own platform!”
✔️ 1 dash group dynamics of “Uh, just so you guys know, I want to signal the utmost in caution so everyone knows I believe this pandemic is still Really Serious. I’m not one of those ‘covid is a hoax!!!’ people.” And nobody pushing back on that due to the same dynamic.
Read 5 tweets
12 Apr
This, 100%.

The NYT’s framing is simply the latest iteration of weaponizing the mirage of meritocracy in modern America against those once again getting kicked in the teeth. It is fundamentally cope, an attempt to whitewash ones complicity in policies of cruelty and injustice.
Ah, yes, “grit.” “Stick-to-itiveness” was another similar word used to launder this bullshit, dangling the illusion of ascendency in a system where you’re almost guaranteed to fail through no fault of your own.

washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sh…
It doesn’t get framed this way unless there was needless harm inflicted, I promise you. It just doesn’t. She knows it. We all know it.
Read 4 tweets
9 Apr
If you’re on the left (🙋🏻‍♀️) and still clinging to the “Florida whistleblower” as victim soul in the “Trump fucked up the pandemic” narrative (he sure did! but this claim is loonery): a warning that within the next ~6 months she will have gone the way of Michael Avenatti. Bail now.
There are a few influential partisans who continue to dig in, defending and promoting her even now—they likely haven’t looked into the situation too deeply—and it is lending credence to outright conspiracy theory and charlatanism.
I cannot understate how much of a mistake it is to keep leaning into this personality-based house of cards.

By not distancing from this now, by not outright rebuking and disassociating from Rebekah Jones, Democrats risk further enabling a steamrolling by Ron DeSantis in ‘24.
Read 9 tweets
7 Apr
For others who have been watching the pandemic scientific discourse, the epistemic perspective of it, the preference cascade for setting a timeline to end restrictions in blue areas of the US has begun.
When this is over, every single one of you owes @MonicaGandhi9 a beer.
It’s all been about defining norms of what is acceptable, what can be pushed back against safely, what is an untouchable third rail. From day one in Spring 2020. Group dynamics forming prevailing scientific “consensus.”
Read 4 tweets
6 Apr
As with everything else, corporations are going to signal the beginning of the preference cascade back to “normal,” not Newsom rolling back formal regulations.

Like last March (NBA cancellation! Tech companies send everyone home!) but in reverse. A norms-shifting waterfall.
Even after all willing adults are fully vaccinated, distancing requirements will remain in many spaces until corporations feel they can roll them back without consumer outrage. They know where their bread is buttered.
A vocal minority often (disproportionately) sets policy. Regarding covid norms, you have a group of people who are so incredibly misinformed about relative risk, yet create enough headaches for a brand or company that it’s not worth the trade-off to become a target of their ire.
Read 6 tweets
3 Apr
“The trip from novel pathogen to familiar one is not a day at the beach—but it means that Covid will become one of those subliminal risks (like dying of the flu) that humans manage best by mainly removing them from their minds.”

wsj.com/articles/fourt…
The end of the pandemic, as we regular folk experience it, involves two separate phenomena: biological (the virus and its trajectory) and social (our individual and group behavior in response to it).

These two dynamics aren’t necessarily in sync.
In some places (Kristi Noem’s house?) the social pandemic arguably never started.

In others (hello from SF! 👋) avoidance of the virus has become monomaniacal and the virus itself almost mysticized, with fear ingrained far beyond what the biological pandemic might demand.
Read 4 tweets
2 Apr
Me: [Guttural screaming, at this point mostly unintelligible grunts]

Them: Stop being melodramatic, nobody is actually expecting zero risk

Science writing commentariat: 👋
Remember this? “I think it’s important to stress that it’s unlikely” (@sailorrooscout) is this spring’s iteration of “Be reassured the risk to your children is lower than that of seasonal flu” (@apsmunro) from last summer. It’s part of a greater pattern in pandemic reporting.
This has more or less been the law of pandemic journalism, especially in our panic economy: the most extreme interpretation of data must automatically be the one amplified, lest anyone Get The Wrong Idea or otherwise start Letting Their Guard Down.
Read 4 tweets
2 Apr
You see comments like this a lot, the base, reflexive desire to believe anything that affirms our existing view of the Bad Guys. We saw it when Michael Avenatti was (briefly) deified on the left.

@zeynep has one of the best takes on this phenomenon:

zeynep.substack.com/p/how-polariza…
Update: Not only is Florida engaged in a massive 🐊 conspiracy 🐊 to cover up deaths, they could very well have more deaths than anywhere else in the country! Because Rebekah Jones!!

Very normal thought process, not cognitive dissonance at all.
In order for partisans to square the circle on restrictions as empirical necessity, they must deny reality.

If restrictions-lax Florida (Florida!!) really is middle of the pack on covid, what does that imply about much of what was supposedly a moral imperative to “save lives?”
Read 4 tweets
1 Apr
I actually find this very sad. I’ve liked the guy for years.

His question is regarding a situation wherein **all adults are vaccinated**— a year of well-intentioned restrictions literalism has short-circuited understanding the spectrum of relative risk and transmission dynamics.
The public health establishment is the new clerisy. Many no longer trust themselves to make judgments; the logic is somewhat inaccessible, but most importantly the risks to ourselves and to the greater good are too great to mess around with directly.
Things like this reinforce the black-and-white thinking that has hampered us too often during the pandemic.

What metaphysical transformation happens at the moment that third family walks through the threshold which demands masks? (All adults here are vaccinated.)
Read 4 tweets