March 2020

Protesting border horrors


The Guardian

'This is our feminist spring': millions of Mexican women prepare to strike over


As the country grapples with a worsening crisis, the revolt among a new generation of feminists is picking up steam: ‘It’s our last resort’

by Tom Phillips in Tijuana

Who gets the COVID-19 test in Merced County?

In an effort to wring from the Merced Sun-Star’s Thursday, March 20th story, ”Coronavirus response efforts increase in Merced County,” what useful news its 37 column inches might contain, we came up with this assertion in the 25th graph by Interem County Health Officer Dr. Kenneth Bird.

Public Health labs remain the only facilities available to test for the virus, but the county has ample coronavirus test kits at this time.

But the story begins:

Merced County still virus free -- it's a miracle!


To: Badlands

From: Geezers Anonymous of Merced County/Viejitos anonimos del Condado de Merced

Although every county that touches on Merced County has reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, miraculously, Merced County has escaped. At least it not reported any confirmed cases. And what does "confirmation" mean? How long does it take to get confirmation in Merced County? We count the days as Mercy Hospital constructs yellow tents to handle the overflow of unreported cases of COVID-19.

The public health logic of the political donut shop

From the City of Atwater website:

Are there any reported cases in Merced County?

As of 3-13-20, there are no known reported cases in the County, so there is no cause for undue alarm. However, we still are taking all precautions to ensure plans and contingencies are in place to help protect the public, should they be necessary. – Atwater City Council, March 14, 2020;

Suicide: the prior national epidemic

MERCED (BLJ) -- Dignity, like class, is not a fashionable concept. We have Trump to thank for reminding us of our instinctive demand for it because Trump offends human dignity with practically every bloated utterance. Whenever he lies, which is every time he opens his mouth, he offends the dignity of all American citizens and encourages every bully who has a position over anybody else to abuse that position.

UC President's letter to campuses: what's missing?

MERCED (BLJ) -- As the second possible case of Covid-19 is reported at the University of California, Merced, and the campus awaits the test results, we found this letter from UC President Janet Napolitano to the campuses. Absent from the letter is any concern for the populations that surround the campuses, and there is no thought that a vector for the infection are likely to include UC students, and other members of the "UC community." But read the letter below with the knowledge that the state of California now provides only about 10-percent of UC's annual budget.

Rediscovering Camus' novel, The Plague

It has been just long enough, Albert Camus was a favorite of War Babies and the early Boomers, that Camus and his masterpiece, The Plague, might not be remembered by all today. But this profound, reflective story about quietly heroic people enduring the complete quarantine of their city will move you and may even help you endure the anxieties of the pandemic. Among other things, it is a novel of responsibility.-- blj


Camus on the Coronavirus

Alarums and excursions, March 20, 2020

MERCED (BLJ) -- A woman parks her car in front of a laundromat, opens a backdoor, takes out a basket of dirty laundry just as friend exits the laundromat with a basket of clean laundry.

"The Chinese Disease," the in-going woman says cheerfully. "Drag ass."

Their predicament strikes them as funny and they both laugh too loudly.

# # #

Virus notres: March 21, 2020

UC Merced announced this week that two students  showed COVID-19 symptoms and are in self-quarantine while awaiting test results.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Merced County as of Wednesday, March 18. -- Lauten-Scrivner, Merced Sun-Star, March 20, 2020

Virus notes: March 22, 2020


MERCED (BLJ) – Virus as trigger for The Revolution.

It is bad enough that the Right is waging a revolution against reason; now the Left seems to feel the only rational thing to do with a pandemic is use it as an excuse for a revolution. To move this thinking across the line to absurdity, this revolution is to be accomplished by organizers – organizers trained in the tactics of polarization – all across the nation.

Virus notes (2): March 22, 2020: Wells Fargo closes Merced branches

MERCED (BLJ) -- Friends reported Sunday evening that they had been unable to deposit a check that day in the downtown Merced Wells Fargo branch. We investigated and verified that it is no longer possible to make a deposit at that branch or at the branch in the Raley’s shopping center on Yosemite Ave. and G Street.

Virus notes: COVID-19-count update, March 23, 2020



From Redding Record-Searchlight

Know the numbers: COVID-19 cases in California

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, 1,733 people in California tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Here's how California's 1,733 cases broke down by age range:

Age 0-17: 25 cases

Age 18-49: 837 cases

Age 50-64: 442 cases

Age 65 and over: 415 cases

nknown: 14 cases


U.S., worldwide: COVID-19 cases in U.S. pass 40k mark

Virus notes: March 24, 2020


MERCED (BLJ) --Yesterday, a Sacramento physician told A BLJ editor that starting today, a large Sacramento hospital will cease to provide masks for its surgeons and has stopped doing any elective surgery. UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento continues to do elective surgery. According to news reports from March 20.

Virus notes: March 26, 2020

MERCED (BLJ) -- The Merced Department of Public Health announced Thursday that there were now four confirmed cases of coronavirus, and added that all the cases “were acquired outside of Merced County.”

How they can be certain of that was not explained?

The county promised to "assess risks of exposure and contact any affected individuals.”

And after a chat, send them down to Costco for some toilet paper?

Three of the four were under 40, the health department said.

Virus notes: March 28, 2020

MERCED (BLJ) – Merced County Department of Public Health reports that there have been 61 tests for novel conronavirus and seven deaths in the county.

Clearly, with a population of 257,000, Merced County, like most of the nation, is flying blind into the teeth of this virus storm in the middle of the night without either radar or communications with the ground.

Virus notes: March 30-31, 2020

MERCED (B LJ) -- The Merced County Public  Health Department reports that as of March 30, there are 10 cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in the county. One patient was infected due to “community spread;” the others were due to traveling elsewhere, the department press release said. But, on March 31 in a telephone town-hall meeting set up by Rep. Jim Costa, the Merced County Director of Public Health waffled on the other nine cases, saying they really didn't know how they contacted the virus. But what angered me as the pandemic swells around us, was this: