Demonstrations broke out across the country Wednesday evening, protesting the election of Donald Trump for president.
In Chicago, thousands marched through the downtown area, crossing the Chicago River, and chanting, “Don’t give in to racist fear, Muslims are welcome here,” outside the Wabash Avenue building named after the president-elect.
In New York, thousands more gathered in Midtown, at times chanting, “Not my president,” and carrying signs for gay rights and environmental issues.
In Boston, police say 10,000 protesters marched from the Massachusetts Statehouse to Copley Square, yelling, “We will not be silenced,” and waving signs that said, “He Will Never Be My President.”
Protesters flooded the streets of several other cities nationwide, blocking highways in Austin, crowding the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, and disrupting classes in Des Moines, Iowa. Demonstrators also took to the streets of Oakland, Seattle, and Portland.
At least seven people have died and dozens more injured after a tram derailed Wednesday morning in Croydon, south of London.
The tram was traveling from New Addington to Wimbledon via Croydon “at a significantly higher speed than is permitted” when it derailed off a sharp curve, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said Wednesday in a statement. The driver, a 42-year-old man from Beckenham, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, according to British Transport Police.
An estimated 51 people were taken to the hospital, the London Ambulance Service said Wednesday afternoon. Of the tram’s passengers, at least seven people were killed—a number Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, warned “may well increase.”
Though the tram was traveling at higher speeds than usual, transport authorities said it is too early in the investigation to determine exactly what caused the crash. Here’s a photo from the scene:
America's Toughest Sheriff Loses His First Election in 24 Years
After 24 years of service marked with controversy, Joe Arpaio is no longer sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. The 86-year-old came up short in the race for his seventh-consecutive term Tuesday night; he was defeated by Democratic rival Paul Penzone, a former police sergeant who lost to Arpaio in 2012.
Arpaio had once seemed invincible in Arizona. As a local law enforcement leader, he found national fame by pushing the immigration debate to the right. For about a decade, his deputies practiced “crime sweeps,” routinely stopping county residents and asking them to prove their citizenship. In 2013 a federal judge found Arpaio’s office guilty of racial profiling and assigned a federal monitor to ensure the sheriff made changes to his department. Arpaio didn’t comply and landed in civil court, where he was eventually found guilty of contempt. The federal judge then recommended Arpaio be charged with criminal contempt, and he is scheduled to appear in court this December.
Penzone said Tuesday he ran for sheriff because he sought to “restore the respect, the transparency” of the office.
"No longer will we be known by the notoriety of one," he told supporters. "The only division we should see in the community is between those who commit the crime and those [who] are willing to hold them accountable."
Arpaio said he was disappointed about his loss, but he respects the voters’ decision.
'Schindler's List' Factory to Become a Holocaust Memorial
The Czech Republic factory where German industrialist Oskar Schindler employed and simultaneously saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust will become a memorial.
The Czech culture ministry said Tuesday that portions of the factory complex in Brnene, which is near Schindler’s birthplace of Svitavy, will be restored to exhibit Schindler’s life and his work to save the lives of Jews during World War II, a story made famous by the novel Schindler’s Ark in 1982, and later by Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation, Schindler’s List.
Schindler used the factory, as well as one in Nazi-occupied Poland, to manufacture enamelware and munitions. During the war he employed 1,200 Jews to work at his facilities and saved them from execution. The now-dilapidated building will see restorations to its laboratory, mill, chemical depot, watch tower, and more. The memorial is scheduled to open in 2019.
North Dakota Pipeline Owner Will Continue Construction Despite Federal Government's Requests
The owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline have vowed to press on with construction, despite months of protests from Native Americans and despite federal requests to delay the project so alternatives routes can be considered.
Energy Transfer Partners made the announcement Tuesday, saying it was readying equipment and would begin drilling within two weeks, Reuters reported. This phase of construction requires the company to drill on federal land and practically under the Missouri river. For months, hundreds of protesters, many of the them Native Americans calling themselves “water protectors,” have protested on private land against the drilling out of fears it may contaminate the only water source for the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. They have been met by a large police presence—and recently with considerable violence.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had previously permitted Energy Transfer Partners to drill on the land. In September the U.S. government asked the company to temporarily halt work on the pipeline while federal regulators reconsidered its impact on the environment. On Monday, the Army Corp’s told Bloomberg that Energy Transfer had agreed to slow construction. Then as the nation focused on the presidential election, the company said it had made no such promise: "The statement released last night by the Army Corps was a mistake and the Army Corps intends to rescind it," Energy Transfer’s statement read, according to Reuters.
It’s uncertain what will happen next. Protesters have refused to leave; finance companies have also felt pressure to pull out of the deal; and North Dakota regulators are filing a complaint against Energy Transfer that accuses them of failing to disclose findings of Native American artifacts along the pipeline construction route.
Stocks in Europe and Asia dived before paring some of their earlier declines. Markets in Russia were up.
The price of oil, already battered by years of uneven global economic growth and China’s slowdown, was down about 0.5 percent in early trading. Gold, often seen as a commodity of last refuge, surged.
We should note here that markets often behave erratically during unexpected events—such as the possibility of a Trump presidency. Chances are they will settle down once Trump unveils his economic, domestic, and foreign policies.
The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.
Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.
A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”
Across the country, social distancing is morphing from a public-health to political act. The consequences could be disastrous.
For Geoff Frost, the first sign of the coronavirus culture war came last weekend on the golf course. His country club, located in an affluent suburb of Atlanta, had recently introduced a slew of new policies to encourage social distancing. The communal water jugs were gone, the restaurant was closed, and golfers had been asked to limit themselves to one person per cart. Frost, a 43-year-old Democrat, told me the club’s mix of younger liberals and older conservatives had always gotten along just fine—but the guidelines were proving divisive.
At the driving range, while Frost and his like-minded friends slathered on hand sanitizer and kept six feet apart, the white-haired Republicans seemed to delight in breaking the new rules. They made a show of shaking hands, and complained loudly about the “stupid hoax” being propagated by virus alarmists. When their tee times were up, they piled defiantly into golf carts, shoulder to shoulder, and sped off toward the first hole.
China warned Italy. Italy warned us. We didn’t listen. Now the onus is on the rest of America to listen to New York.
In the emergency-department waiting room, 150 people worry about a fever. Some just want a test, others badly need medical treatment. Those not at the brink of death have to wait six, eight, 10 hours before they can see a doctor. Those admitted to the hospital might wait a full day for a bed.
I am an emergency-medicine doctor who practices in both Manhattan and Queens; at the moment, I’m in Queens. Normally, I love coming to work here, even though in the best of times, my co-residents and I take care of one of New York City’s most vulnerable, underinsured patient populations. Many have underlying illnesses and a language barrier, and lack primary care.
The coronavirus outbreak may last for a year or two, but some elements of pre-pandemic life will likely be won back in the meantime.
The new coronavirus has brought American life to a near standstill, closing businesses, canceling large gatherings, and keeping people at home. All of those people must surely be wondering: When will things return to normal?
The answer is simple, if not exactly satisfying: when enough of the population—possibly 60 or 80 percent of people—is resistant to COVID-19 to stifle the disease’s spread from person to person. That is the end goal, although no one knows exactly how long it will take to get there.
There are two realistic paths to achieving this “population-level immunity.” One is the development of a vaccine. The other is for the disease to work its way through the population, surely killing many, but also leaving many others—those who contract the disease and then recover—immune. “They’re just Teflon at that point,” meaning they can’t get infected again and they won’t pass on the disease, explains Andrew Noymer, a public-health professor at the UC Irvine. Once enough people reach Teflon status—though we don’t yet know if recovering from the disease confers any immunity at all, let alone lifelong immunity—normalcy will be restored. (It may also turn out to be the case that people who are immune to the disease can still pass it on under certain circumstances.)*
Trump is utterly unsuited to deal with this crisis, either intellectually or temperamentally.
For his entire adult life, and for his entire presidency, Donald Trump has created his own alternate reality, complete with his own alternate set of facts. He has shown himself to be erratic, impulsive, narcissistic, vindictive, cruel, mendacious, and devoid of empathy. None of that is new.
But we’re now entering the most dangerous phase of the Trump presidency. The pain and hardship that the United States is only beginning to experience stem from a crisis that the president is utterly unsuited to deal with, either intellectually or temperamentally. When things were going relatively well, the nation could more easily absorb the costs of Trump’s psychological and moral distortions and disfigurements. But those days are behind us. The coronavirus pandemic has created the conditions that can catalyze a destructive set of responses from an individual with Trump’s characterological defects and disordered personality.
“The thought of simply breathing in and out without coughing and reuniting with my children ... is goal enough. To—literally—live and let live will be enough.”
I can pinpoint the exact moment I started feeling off. My partner, Will, and I were on a bike ride on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18, to escape our apartment and get some exercise. This was back when leaving a New York City apartment to get some exercise was still okay, or at least that’s what we’d read, or at least that’s what we thought? If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that what is considered dogma today might change tomorrow.
Ten minutes into our bike ride, I was overcome by an intense fatigue. “I think I have to go back,” I said.
Back home, I felt chilled. Took my temperature: 99.1. I’m normally 97.1, but still, not a huge deal. We’d been so careful about wiping down doorknobs, washing our hands, and keeping everyone except for our family out of our apartment. I’d been ambiently worried enough that my 13-year-old son could be a silent carrier of the virus that I’d yanked him out of his public middle school and off the crowded subways four days before Mayor Bill de Blasio pulled the plug– (far too belatedly, in my opinion). I was getting over a urinary-tract infection, so my fever, I thought, must be from that.
It has taken a good deal longer than it should have, but Americans have now seen the con man behind the curtain.
When, in January 2016, I wrote that despite being a lifelong Republican who worked in the previous three GOP administrations, I would never vote for Donald Trump, even though his administration would align much more with my policy views than a Hillary Clinton presidency would, a lot of my Republican friends were befuddled. How could I not vote for a person who checked far more of my policy boxes than his opponent?
What I explained then, and what I have said many times since, is that Trump is fundamentally unfit—intellectually, morally, temperamentally, and psychologically—for office. For me, that is the paramount consideration in electing a president, in part because at some point it’s reasonable to expect that a president will face an unexpected crisis—and at that point, the president’s judgment and discernment, his character and leadership ability, will really matter.
How did we get to the point where ministers, the president, many Republican politicians, and a variety of media outlets are calling for people to risk death to save the economy?
The coronavirus pandemic in the United States has reignited long-standing debates about the relationship between freedom and economic and personal security. After barely a week of a partial lockdown in many parts of the country, Donald Trump and others are now complaining that overly risk-averse public-health officials are threatening to strangle the economy. Trump insists that excessive caution is counterproductive and dangerous: “THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (BY FAR) THAN THE PROBLEM,” he tweeted on March 22. During a briefing at the White House the next day he added: “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. America will again, and soon, be open for business.”
Conservatives have supported and extended Trump’s position. Writing in TheWashington Post on March 25, the columnist Gary Abernathy claimed that both the stimulus plan passed by the Senate and the shelter-at-home proclamations had completed the nation’s march to socialism begun “incrementally decades ago.” “The delicate balance between freedom and risk was less than an afterthought as our economy was gutted in a matter of days,” Abernathy wrote:
The major dividing line in effective crisis response will not place autocracies on one side and democracies on the other.
When the coronaviruspandemic now sweeping the world was localized in China in January, many people argued that China’s authoritarian system was blocking the flow of information about the seriousness of the situation. The case of Li Wenliang, a physician who was punished for blowing the whistle early on and who subsequently died from the disease, was seen as emblematic of authoritarian dysfunction.
The situation now looks less rosy for democratic government. Europe faces a larger disease burden than China, with Italy alone exceeding the number of deaths officially reported in China, despite having one-twentieth the population. It turns out that the leaders of many democracies felt similar pressures to downplay the dangers of the epidemic, whether to avoid injuring the economy or to protect their personal interests. This was true not just of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro or Mexico’s Lopez Obrador, but also of President Donald Trump, who until mid-March kept insisting that the U.S. had the disease under control and that the epidemic would disappear shortly. This explains why the U.S. lost two months in preparing for the onslaught, creating persistent shortages of testing kits and medical supplies. China, meanwhile, is reporting a leveling-off of new cases. Chinese students in Britain have reportedly been astonished at the lax approach taken by Boris Johnson’s government.
Unless the country does dramatically more to provide them with the equipment they need to do their job safely, it risks disaster.
The morning before my shift, I try to stay busy with emails, writing, cleaning the house, anything really. If I sit and think about it too long, undisturbed, I get nervous. I’m afraid to go to work, and yet I’m told I must. The flitting anxiety swells as I pull on my scrubs and head to the car. The streets are empty. I drive alone into the epicenter. It peaks when I first step through the door into the jumble of patients in chairs, stretchers, and beds crowded around our cramped workstation, staff jammed together discussing care, writing notes, calling reports. Then I start, surrounded by my colleagues, and am too busy to think about it. The fear is as much for my family and friends as for me. Probably more. I’m a physician who works in an emergency department in Washington, D.C., and the coronavirus is spreading.