How Anti-Public Health Messages and Activities Spread
Like a virus, misinformation can spread within a population. It has its super-spreaders, just like the coronavirus. It can mutate in ways that make it more contagious. And it can be weaponized. Research into networks of coronavirus-related communication has revealed how both true and false information spread through social media . Misinformation can spread like …CONTINUE READING
Alas, that light at the end of the tunnel is still very far away from us.
World War I lasted four years, with millions of deaths. At the start, however, many people thought the war would be quick and easy. “Home by Christmas,” was what they said about their troops. A frightening number of Americans now have similar illusions about the coronavirus pandemic. According to a CNN poll a released Tuesday, …CONTINUE READING
Proposed Tort Liability Protection for Businesses
Sen. Mitch McConnell is demanding that any future coronavirus relief law provide a litigation shield for businesses, and other conservative/business interests have made similar proposals. So far, the supporters of these proposals have engaged in some dramatic handwaving but haven’t begun to make a reasoned argument in support of a litigation shield. In this post, …CONTINUE READING
Longstanding U.S. Supreme Court Precedents Indicate the Answer is an Unequivocal “No”
Lately, an increasing number of public and private voices have been raised in opposition to business closures ordered by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. In many such cases, that opposition has taken the form of lawsuits filed by business owners, claiming a violation of their constitutional rights. Gun shops across …CONTINUE READING
How Plastics Companies and Environmental Groups Can Help Us Find an Answer
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, concerns have grown over the safety of grocery bags. Many U.S. states—among them New York, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Oregon—have suspended or delayed their single-use plastic bag bans in the past two months. Some places like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and San Francisco have gone even further to temporarily ban reusable …CONTINUE READING
Unfortunately, if anything, reality has often turned out somewhat worse than predicted.
The White House thinks coronavirus models are too pessimistic. If anything, the evidence suggests the models aren’t pessimistic enough. Their projections of future deaths have often been too low.CONTINUE READING
Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health
As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue. It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …CONTINUE READING
Take everything Trump did wrong about the virus. Then square it. That’s Bolsonaro.
Yes, Trump made huge mistakes in the coronavirus outbreak. But no, he’s not the worst world leader in this respect. That prize currently goes to Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. Like Trump, he’s a rightwing populist leader. He’s even been called “the Trump of the Tropics.” But he’s far more unmoored. When asked about Brazil’s record number …CONTINUE READING
Conservatives versus Lockdowns
Spurred on by conservative groups, protesters are demanding that their states go back to business as usual. This sentiment isn’t limited to the kinds of hotheads who insist on congregating in public during an epidemic, or even to conservatives like Betsy DeVos who help to fund these groups and promote their protests. It also includes …CONTINUE READING
Reactionary State Responses to COVID-19 (and Other Threats to Public Health) Don’t Mean Federalism Is For Suckers
For decades, “states’ rights” has been a rallying cry of the right wing. Most Americans are familiar with the dynamics that required the federalization of civil rights law, both in the 1860s and again in the 1960s, the protection of much of our nation’s federal lands, and the national crises that necessitated the federal government …CONTINUE READING