On San Francisco: 27 March 2020
For audio only, find the podcast on SoundCloud.
This podcast takes you to several cities/countries affected by COVID-19 to discuss social, economic, and political challenges facing their societies, with emphasis on the most vulnerable groups and on what this pandemic reveals about the human condition (wow, big phrase). Based on personal and incisive conversations with various interlocutors on location, we hope both to learn from others and to provide some solace as we address how we are collectively experiencing and dealing with similar challenges.
We will be speaking with our guests, one or several at a time, via Skype, and will try to have brief, informative, and non-draining calls within 20-30 minutes.
Look out for upcoming episodes in the coming week(s) from Doha, Vancouver, and more. Listen to the previous episodes in the series on Gaza here, Dublin here, Cairo here, the first interview on Iran here, and the second interview on Iran here.
Hosted by Noura Erakat and Bassam Haddad
Production Set by Khalid Namez
Edited by Alicia Rodriguez
Directed by Bassam Haddad
Research by Naim Mousa
Data shown is as of March 29.
- Total confirmed cases in the US: 133,146 (as of 2pm on 3/29)
- Total deaths in the US: 2,363 (as of 2pm on 3/29)
- Case fatality rate in the US: (#deaths/#confirmed cases): 1.6% (as of 11pm on 3/27)
- Total cases per 1 million people in the US: 402(as of 2pm on 3/29)
- Total deaths per 1 million people in the US: 7
- First case recorded in the US: January 20 (Snohomish, Washington)
- Total number of test kits available: I wish I knew!
- Total number of tests performed daily: 65,000 (as of 3/26)
- Total number of tests performed: ~685,000 (as of 11pm on 3/27)
- Tests per capita in the US as whole: 177 tests per 100k people.
- NY has the highest testing rate: 627 tests per 100k people.
- Total number of ventilators: ~172,700 (~160,000 available +12,700 in national stockpile)
- After Trump enacted the Defense Production Act on 3/27, factories like GM are mandated to begin manufacturing ventilators - as many as 10,000/month.
- Total number of ICU beds: ~925,000
- Total number of ICU beds per 1,000 people: 34.7
- Water security in places like Flint, Michigan. Under pressure, the state issued a moratorium of water shutoffs.
- Nearly 3,000 households are without running water
- A number of states/communities are struggling as COVID-19 is spreading in homeless populations and among SRO/housing project residents – the data is TBD but I can keep an eye out for numbers.
○ Homeless people are at double the risk of contracting the virus.
◙ Cramming 200-300 people in a single homeless shelter is the norm in many cities, increasing the likelihood of transmission.
◙ 30% of homeless people have chronic lung disease, according to a study published last year.
○ In Boston, 8 homeless people have already tested positive for the virus.
○ While San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a $5 million emergency fund and public health order to help vulnerable populations, including the homeless, many activists insist that is not enough.
○ The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness estimates that there are 567,700 homeless people in the country.
○ E.g. Population density is one of the factors in community spread in NYC
◙ New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Orange, and Erie county are the hardest hit areas in New York State. They are also all the top 10 most densely populated counties in the state.
Jessica Malaty Rivera
As a senior health and science communicator, Jessica Malaty Rivera has dedicated the last 15 years to high-level medical research, global health policy and promotion, and access advocacy. Jessica is a microbiologist and specializes in translating complex scientific concepts and clinical data into impactful, judgment-free, and accessible information for a diverse audience. Her work allowed her to serve as a subject matter expert on the 2011 film Contagion and since then has been a producer on three short documentaries. She earned her MS in Emerging Infectious Diseases from Georgetown School of Medicine.
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of the forthcoming book, A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East (Forthcoming, Stanford University Press, 2021). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine. Bassam is Co-Project Manager for the Salon Syria Project and Director of the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI). He received MESA's Jere L. Bacharach Service Award in 2017 for his service to the profession. Currently, Bassam is working on his second Syria book tittled Understanding The Syrian Tragedy: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).
Noura Erakat is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University in the Department of Africana Studies and the Program in Criminal Justice where she teaches topics such as human rights law, humanitarian law, national security law, refugee law, social justice, and critical race theory. Her scholarly interests include humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law, and national security law. She earned her BA and JD from Berkeley Law School and her LLM in National Security from the Georgetown University Law Center. She is a Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya e-zine. Prior to beginning her appointment at GMU, Noura was a Freedman Teaching Fellow at Temple Law School and has taught International Human Rights Law and the Middle East at Georgetown University since 2009.