The Return of MAGA Rallies, Heat Maps, and the Reshaping of Cities
A roundup of stories we’re reading about the coronavirus today
- The coronavirus pandemic has curbed the president’s ability to host political MAGA rallies since March, but he’s now ready to get them restarted within the next two weeks. The spread of Covid-19 remains a concern as cases continue to rise in certain states, but as Politico reports, the president’s advisers have told him that “the recent massive protests in metropolitan areas will make it harder for liberals to criticize him.”
- Public health officials in some areas have released personal data on people infected with Covid-19 to police, reports Simone Weichselbaum at The Marshall Project, a nonprofit supporting independent journalism on law enforcement. Law enforcement can use this data to create “heat maps” of areas with a lot of positive cases. While the idea is that police can use these maps to keep officers safe, civil liberties groups are concerned that they may be used for less benign purposes or discourage officers from working in hard-hit areas.
- Last week, the medical journals The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine retracted two studies that raised safety concerns about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, the experimental Covid-19 treatments touted by the president as a miracle cure. Now, a scandal is emerging around one co-author of both papers, as Stat News reports. Amit Patel has been terminated from his faculty appointment at the University of Utah, and new questions are emerging over his relationship to a small company called Surgisphere, which supplied the data for the studies.
- Pandemics have reshaped cities for years, and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception, writes Yasmeen Serhan in The Atlantic. In the 19th century, public health officials (who didn’t exactly understand disease spread yet) intuited that improved sanitation would help, such as banishing wild animals and open sewage from cities. Likewise, cities are changing as a result of Covid-19, as streets are converted into bike lanes and social distancing circles are drawn on park lawns. The question now is whether these changes will last after the pandemic runs its course.