Now we have definitive proof that masks really are effective.

This week, a group of scientists from Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and other institutions published the final results of a randomized study of community-wide masking behavior in Bangladesh.

Their conclusion? Masks work, period. Surgical masks are particularly effective at preventing coronavirus transmission. And community-wide mask wearing is excellent at protecting older people, who are at much higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The Atlantic

It’s the Wages & Benefits, Stupid.

After businesses complained they can’t find enough people to keep their doors open Indiana is set to become the latest state to bring back a requirement that unemployed workers will have to actively search for jobs to get benefits.

“Unemployment has been extended again, stimulus money again – you know, if you’ve got a couple of kids you’re really getting a lot of stimulus money,” Hunter said. “It’s good for them, but it’s bad for me.”

Hunter’s assumption is a common refrain from business owners, the reality is more complicated.

Micah Pollak, a professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest, said plenty of studies have shown that unemployment benefits are not, by and large, keeping people from taking jobs. Instead it boils down to wages.

“I think it’s kind of like a cop-out for business owners to say that because it puts all the blame on the workers and then they don’t take any responsibility for what’s happening,” Pollak said. “I mean, if a couple hundred dollars a week is enough to convince a worker not to work for you, then I think you need to question what kind of work environment and pay are you offering.”

Indiana Public Media

COVID-19 May Hide in Brains and Cause Relapses

Members of the Cult of Trump like to say things like, “There’s a 98.8% recovery rate. What they ignore is evidence that COVID can cause long-lasting damage to the body and its organs after the virus is “gone”. Example:

The coronavirus may remain in people’s brains after infection and trigger relapses in patients who thought they had recovered, according to a new study published in the journal Viruses.

The research team found that the virus was located in the brains of mice at a level that was 1,000 times higher than in any other part of the body. Viral loads in the lungs began to drop after three days but remained high in the brain on the fifth and sixth days after infection, which is when the disease became more severe.

“Once it infects the brain, it can affect anything because the brain is controlling your lungs, the heart, everything,” he said. “The brain is a very sensitive organ. It’s the central processor for everything.”

WebMD

SD Gov Kristi Noem Ignores Virus Precautions, Leads SD to one of the Worst Outcomes

Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota has repeatedly dismissed coronavirus control measures. Masks? Meh. Distancing? Meh. This is the result (compared to Vermont, also led by a Repulican governor who enacted sensible precautions):

One of the things happening in South Dakota is an infection rate that’s among the worst in the nation, at about 8,000 cases per 100,000 people.

In Vermont, another small, rural state with a Republican governor, Gov. Phil Scott has embraced safety measures, and the differences are pretty stark. Like South Dakota, Vermont has fewer than 1 million residents, most of whom don’t live in cities. It has about 500cases per 100,000 people. That’s the lowest rate in the nation.

NPR

Study: Partisanship and Response to Coronavirus (Worse Among Republicans/Faux News Watchers)

Although few things bind groups together like a common obstacle, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a deeply partisan flavour in the United States (and seemingly continues to do so). Here we found that partisanship is associated with differences in physical distancing behaviour at the level of US counties—and that this degree of physical distancing may have impacted counties’ subsequent COVID-19 infection and fatality growth rates. This suggests that partisanship might be an important risk factor for the current pandemic and, potentially, for other public health crises.

Nature

New Columbia Study Blames the White House for at Least 130,000 ‘Avoidable’ COVID Deaths

“We believe that this was a monumental, lethal screwup by an administration that didn’t want to deal with reality,” said the study’s lead author.

A new report from Columbia University on COVID-19 deaths estimates that hundreds of thousands of Americans died because the United States’ response to the pandemic was an “abject failure,” particularly the actions of President Donald Trump. With an adequate response, the United States could have avoided tens of thousands of deaths and an incalculable amount of suffering, the researchers said.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, the lead author on the study and the founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, laid the blame at the feet of the White House in an interview with The Daily Beast: “We believe that this was a monumental, lethal screwup by an administration that didn’t want to deal with reality.”

The Daily Beast

Time’s up: After a reprieve, a wave of evictions expected across U.S.

On Sept. 1, U.S. health officials announced they would suspend evictions across the United States to help stem further spread of the novel coronavirus.

That was three days too late for Latrise Bean.

About 72 hours before the declaration by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Bean, 35, was ordered evicted from her Milwaukee apartment. She’d lived there for three years despite the sagging ceilings, smell of urine in the hallways and homeless squatters in the basement – because it was all she could afford.

September’s reprieve by the CDC, which protected many, but not all, renters will expire in January.

At that point, an estimated $32 billion in back rent will come due, with up to 8 million tenants facing eviction filings.

Reuters