No More Shutdowns Without Detailed Data

by Kerry Dougherty

Here we go. Again.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down much of his state’s economy yesterday. He closed indoor dining, churches, (they’re always the first to go), hair salons, barbershops, wineries, fitness centers, etc.

I’m sure it’s just coincidental that this happened shortly before the Golden State’s numbers began to climb last month:

Question is, can Gov. Ralph Northam be far behind?

If history is any predictor, Democratic governors around the country will follow suit as soon as they see any increase in COVID-19 cases, thus putting people who just got back to work, out of work.


Virginia’s numbers of new COVID cases are rising. Or seem to be. As I pointed out yesterday, the commonwealth has only been testing aggressively for about six weeks so Virginia has no baseline for comparison. Lord knows how many cases of coronavirus we had in March, April and May when sick people couldn’t get tested and simply took NyQuil until they recovered at home, undetected.

In a story headlined Virginia Covid-19 Cases Increase 2,711 Since Friday; Percentage of Positive Tests Remain LowThe Richmond Times-Dispatch includes a reassuring chart that shows only a very slight increase in positive test percentages.

This should not be enough to cause the Governor to reinstitute shutdowns. Especially with the dramatic drop in COVID fatalities. There were just two deaths on Sunday. (Yes, I know, weekend reporting is erratic. Still, those of us who are tracking deaths have seen a welcome reduction in recent weeks.)

But Northam is holding a COVID-19 press conference today at 2:00. Never a good sign.

Before the Governor decides it’s time to end indoor dining, curtail church services or cripple fitness centers with new rules, he needs to provide the public with detailed data about the recent numbers. We’ve had enough of random rules that aren’t rooted in science. (Remember when we weren’t allowed to SIT on the beaches?)

The state has a wealth of demographic information about the new cases: ages, races, and even where the folks testing positive picked up their infections. After all, Northam promised to turn an army of contact tracers loose on the state.

It would also be nice to know how many of the newly diagnosed folks are seriously ill.

If the spike in cases correlates with protests that occurred in Virginia Beach, Richmond and elsewhere, Northam needs to address the problem of large gatherings and leave the rest of us – – who are cautiously trying to support the local economy and ourselves — alone.

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49 responses to “No More Shutdowns Without Detailed Data”

  1. Top-GUN Avatar

    Here is the science number we need to know:
    What is the Maximum Allowable Number of Deaths per Day from Covid.
    With this as a criteria we can decide what, if any, restrictions need to be put in place…
    Just because people are testing positive in large numbers doesn’t mean we need to be locking down…. we need to know how many are actually dying and what level of death is acceptable!!!!
    And don’t give me some silly answer such as none; we are more than willing to accept a certain number of deaths from smoking, drinking, speeding, swimming and just about any activity you can name…
    So,,, let’s have a number.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      2,500,000. That’s the estimate from roughly 300,000,000 infections.

    2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Science can’t give you a number of “allowable” or “acceptable” deaths. That is a moral or political question.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        I agree. But to reject science because it won’t give you those numbers is not good politics either.

    3. Rowinguy Avatar

      Your response presumes, as so many do, that the alternatives of a COVID infection are either i.) death or ii.) full recovery. This binary is certainly not supported by the evidence. Thus, there can be an “acceptable” number of deaths because everyone who doesn’t die gets fine. They don’t. They may require days, weeks. or months of hospital care. Have permanent heart, brain and/or lung impairment after. Relapse! Get it a second time.

      You are just not weighing the full costs of this epidemic.

      We’ve not had a truly effective lockdown anywhere in this country yet. Each reopening proliferates the total number of cases and dead and disabled Americans.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        These are good points. We don’t know the long term effects of having the disease. There is a lot of evidence of serious damage to the lungs and other organs for those who “recover”. There are also some preliminary indications of lung damage for those who showed no symptoms.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          Most all diseases have lingering negative affects, in some particular cases those affects can be quite severe. This line here is cherry picked factoids that are often wildly inflated for political purposes. If anything covid-19 is distinguished by its vast prevalence of mild or non manifested symptoms, and adverse impacts.

          1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
            Dick Hall-Sizemore

            Are the diseases, to which you are referring, as easily spread as coronavirus? Are there recognized treatments for those diseases? Are there vaccinations for those diseases?

        2. PackerFan Avatar

          Based on your comment, we need to immediately ban the sale and consumption of cigarettes and alcohol. We do know the serious and lasting damage that cigarettes do to human lungs and we do know the serious and lasting damage that alcohol does to the human liver. We need to shut down the entire country to save people from second hand smoke and drunk drivers and not reopen things until the number of deaths and/or injuries from both show signs of dropping. What is the acceptable number of deaths from cigarettes and alcohol? What are the full costs of those epidemics?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Well I’d agree to go after red light runners and left lane sitters for sure..

  2. NorrhsideDude Avatar

    If politicians and teacher unions are serious about their claims of doom and dread to students then they need to also speak out against any college or high school sports teams even contemplating practicing or play in the fall.
    And for the politicians if you are going to shutdown you should be actually enforcing these shutdowns. If the enforcement happens I will believe the shutdowns are the actual imminent
    threat you claim.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Northam just announced stepped up enforcement by state agencies, especially in Hampton Roads. (I am sure Kelly will go nuts over that.) It seems that voluntary compliance has been lacking.

  3. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Dead people. Detailed enough?

    BTW, check out SARS-COV1 and SARS-COV2 autopsies. They’re finding the viruses throughout the body, kidneys, liver, prostate, lungs obviously, and BRAIN, especially brain with micro infarcts.

    Remember all those little kiddies you want in school? Well, maybe some micro infarcts will keep them on par with the mercury-dosed kids from Flint.

    How about IQ points as a detail?

    1. Ben Slone Avatar
      Ben Slone

      Wasn’t that lead in Flint, Michigan?

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        Yes, thanks. Too late to correct. I think I’ll have a tuna salad for lunch to help my aging memory.

        Actually, now that I think about it, the prostate may be of more importance than the brain… this is a conservative blog.

        1. Ben Slone Avatar
          Ben Slone

          I used to consume too many top of the food chain fish – and I learned the whole body and CNS half-life for Hg. It takes a while. Now only wild Salmon…

          Testosterone, the most powerful drug in the known universe…

  4. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    One of the major problems is regulation based on the content of speech, which is forbidden by the Constitution. No administration, national, state or local, is perfectly clean. But closing down businesses when the same administration ignored protests by massive numbers of people simply fails the constitutional tests and is very dangerous to liberty.

    I suspect a Governor can get by with imposing restrictions on business but he/she damn well better shut down the next big demonstration based on public health grounds.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Many medical experts have reported little spread of the virus resulting from the demonstrations, which was counter to what they had expected.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        This is more political propaganda by experts. The web and even formerly reliable journals and magazines are full of this nonsense, and it extends widely now to otherwise long reputable institutions whose science and experts now have been politicized by vast amounts of money offered for certain results in science, as everyone in the business knows.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          This is why to date, the experts, their modeling, and their advice has, been in so many cases, have been wildly wrong so often to date. Vast Political power and vast sums of money can be gained by experts and politicians for themselves by their claiming that their own version of science, in nearly endless particulars, are on their side, and that everyone else’s opinion or findings, and common sense, and even long and very recent history, is all wrong.

        2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
          Dick Hall-Sizemore

          The National Bureau of Economic Research is not known for spreading “political propaganda”.

          Can you provide any counter evidence to substantiate our claim that it is nonsense? It seems that only those publications with which you agree have not been “politicized”. Give some examples and evidence of “otherwise long reputable institutions whose science and experts now have been politicized by vast amounts of money.”

          1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Dick, you have an extremely serious case of being one of Eric Hoffer’s True Believers, those who have been struck blind and dumb by their own ideology.

            So, for example, you asked earnestly:

            “Give some examples and evidence of “otherwise long reputable institutions whose science and experts now have been politicized by vast amounts of money.”

            Here are a few you apparently have not noticed:

            UVA, Harvard, Yale, Berkley, Brown, Princeton, Johns Hopkins Medical research, New York Times, the science journal Nature, among many others, including most all elite institutions of higher education in America.

            So for example, as to New York Times see Bari Weiss’s day’s old letter to Times:

            “Dear A.G.,

            It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

            I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

            I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

            But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

            Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

            My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

            There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

            I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

            Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

            What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

            Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

            It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

            The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

            Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

            Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

            All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

            For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

            None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

            Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.



            Escape your bubble, Dick, and get a grip on the reality all around you. It is staring you in the face.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            so…. no answer, eh?

          3. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            “Give some examples and evidence of “otherwise long reputable institutions whose science and experts now have been politicized by vast amounts of money.”

            So now Dick, lets move on to Princeton, a very recent open letter, signed my hundreds of Princeton Professors, including many in STEM and science fields:

            Faculty Letter
            July 4, 2020

            Dear President Eisgruber, Provost Prentice, Deans Kulkarni and Dolan, Vice President for Campus Life Calhoun, and members of the Princeton Cabinet,

            Anti-Blackness is foundational to America. It plays a role in where we live and where we are welcome. It influences the level of healthcare we receive. It determines the degree of risk we are assumed to pose in contexts from retail to lending and beyond. It informs the expectations and tactics of law-enforcement. Anti-Black racism has hamstrung our political process. It is rampant in even our most “progressive” communities. And it plays a powerful role at institutions like Princeton, despite declared values of diversity and inclusion.

            Anti-Black racism has a visible bearing upon Princeton’s campus makeup and its hiring practices. It is the problem that faculty of color are routinely called upon to remedy by making ourselves visible; by persuading our white colleagues to overcome bias in hiring, admission, and recruitment efforts; and by serving as mentors and support networks for junior faculty and students seeking to thrive in an environment where they are not prioritized. Indifference to the effects of racism on this campus has allowed legitimate demands for institutional support and redress in the face of micro-aggression and outright racist incidents to go long unmet.

            At this moment of massive global uprising in the name of racial justice, we the faculty—Black, Latinx, Asian, and members of all communities of color along with our white colleagues—call upon the University to take immediate concrete and material steps to openly and publicly acknowledge the way that anti-Black racism, and racism of any stripe, continue to thrive on its campus. We call upon the administration to block the mechanisms that have allowed systemic racism to work, visibly and invisibly, in Princeton’s operations. We call upon the University to amplify its commitment to Black people and all people of color on this campus as central to its mission, and to become, for the first time in its history, an anti-racist institution.

            We urge you to acknowledge and give priority to the following demands:

            Give seats at your decision-making table to people of color who are actively anti-racist and inclusive in their practices. Diagnose the problem of racism through transparent demographic reporting. Redress the demographic disparity on Princeton’s faculty immediately and exponentially by hiring more faculty of color. Acknowledge the invisible work that faculty of color are compelled to do. Elevate faculty of color to prominent leadership positions. Educate the Princeton University community about the legacy of slavery and white supremacy. Continue to actively confront Princeton’s ties to and culpability in slavery and white supremacy. Use admissions as a tool of anti-racism. Invest in the pipeline to make lasting demographic change in the graduate and undergraduate bodies. Listen to and support Princeton’s faculty, preceptors, postdocs, staff, and students of color through open conversation and sustained mentoring programs. Above all, lead. Show our peer institutions, and the world, that genuine service to humanity begins with dismantling the unnatural and immoral hierarchies that universities have long perpetuated, both actively and in their inaction.

            Our investment in this institution is such that we are willing to offer our time, energy, and expertise in order to bring about real and lasting institutional change, as follows:


            We must listen and respond to the needs of faculty members of color and then elevate their work within the University. Indeed, the majority of concerns approached here from a faculty perspective also have significant bearing upon the experience of at-will staff members and students of color. We therefore posit these requests as a signal of our awareness of and connection to the struggles of all members of the Black Princeton community and communities of color across campus. We ask that you:

            1. With input from faculty, convene and engage an outside committee of academics, law professors, artists, and cultural advisors from communities of color—experts in the study of race and challenging racism—in University decisions about race, racism, anti-racism, and racial equity. Make communication between the University and such a committee transparent and public. Set clear benchmarks that must be met before this committee is disbanded.

            2. Form an internal committee of faculty and students of color to whom the University, in carrying out this work, remains accountable.

            3. Implement administration- and faculty-wide training that is specifically anti-racist in emphasis with the goal of making our campus truly safe, welcoming, and nurturing for every person of color on campus—students, postdocs, preceptors, staff, and faculty alike. Require the participation of staff members who work with students and student groups, like “Free Expression Facilitators” and Public Safety officers. This training should be led by an outside facilitator, selected in consultation with student representatives and expert practitioners (e.g., Race Forward), and become an integral and annual component of our faculty institutional culture. To be clear, this type of training is by no means one-size-fits-all; it is challenging, and it necessarily moves participants through stages of vulnerability, productive discomfort, and reflection. Thought must be put into determining which approaches will be most effective for academic units on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with experts in both social science and anti-racism. Support and guidance in this process must be a University priority and conducted in-person (or, given the COVID-19 restrictions, live and interactive).

            4. Elevate more faculty of color to prominent leadership positions within divisions and across the University. One glaring example of Princeton’s failure to do this can be found in the Humanities Council, which was established here well over a half century ago. Its significance for scholars in the humanities at the University, as well as its international visibility, cannot be overstated. On a campus encompassing so many world-class areas of research, mistake the humanities for no small matter: our world-renowned humanists have led the conversations about race, anti-racism, and inclusion on campus and in public media, and they do so now during these fraught times for Black people and people of color across the nation. Yet never once has the Humanities Council been directed by a scholar from an underrepresented group, which is a shocking fact about an entity that reportedly “connects 16 humanities departments and more than 30 interdisciplinary member programs, centers, and committees across the campus.” Moreover, the Council’s Executive Committee, as it is currently assembled, has no members from underrepresented groups. And the Council’s most important outward facing program, the prestigious Society of Fellows, has never once had a Director of color. This is not to disparage the excellent people currently occupying these roles or tapped to do so soon. It’s to indicate a pattern about appointments: the exclusion of faculty of color from leadership positions at the Council runs long and deep. Many of us have raised these issues with the upper administration time and again when we are asked for advice about appointments but to no avail. We do not understand how or why this matter is never rectified, or what it will take to be heard. We demand that a Director from an underrepresented group be appointed at the Council when the current Director’s term expires on June 30, 2021. Delaying any longer, much less another four years, is detrimental in view of having already waited decades. There is sufficient leeway to change course, seek and heed recommendations from faculty demonstrably invested in anti-racist research, and make an appropriate appointment starting in 2021-22.

            5. Reward the invisible work done by faculty of color with course relief and summer salary. As of the fall of the 2019-20 academic year, faculty of color make up only 7% of the laddered faculty, according to figures provided by the Office of Institutional Research, but they are routinely called upon to exert influence in hiring committees and to stand as emblems and spokespersons of diversity at Princeton. Being required to chiefly and constantly “serve” and “represent” in the interest of administrative goals robs the imagination and interrupts any possibility of concerted thought. Faculty of color hired at the junior level should be guaranteed one additional semester of sabbatical on top of the one-in-six provision (and on top of any leave awarded through University or Bicentennial Preceptorships).

            6. Nominate no fewer than two faculty members of color for annual elections to C3, C7, and the Committee on Committees; and, for Divisions I and II, nominate at least one faculty member of color who either holds a joint appointment or who chairs or has chaired an interdepartmental program or center. Commit to greater diversity in the Academic Planning Group, and to the training and promotion of a more diverse cohort of senior administrators. It should be abundantly clear that in order to do this work in perpetuity without taxing the same faculty members again and again, we must recruit many more faculty members of color. Only 4% of Princeton’s full professors are Black.

            7. Recognize that the Department of African American Studies is home to many classes that examine in depth the history, culture, politics, and economics of racism and white supremacy and the resistance to both in this country and beyond. Establish a core distribution requirement focused on the history and legacy of racism in the country and on the campus. The invaluable anti-racism work of the Carl A. Fields Center could continue alongside, and amplified by, a research unit similarly focused.

            8. Create a center specifically dedicated to racism and anti-racism that can work alongside the Department of African American Studies. Like the Keller Center, this unit should provide educational, funding, curricular, and co-curricular opportunities, and serve as a nexus for scholars of all disciplines who wish to align their work with research into racism/anti-racism. The invaluable anti-racism work of the Carl A. Fields Center could continue alongside, and amplified by, a research unit similarly focused.

            9. Commit fully to anti-racist campus iconography, beginning with the removal of the John Witherspoon statue (erected in 2001) near Firestone Library, and instead, as proposed recently, “investigate Firestone’s legacy on this campus and disclose its historical and contemporary ties to the Firestone Company” and its Liberian plantation. Consider acknowledging this history with a marker at the Firestone Library.

            10. Host semesterly open conversations where administrators hold space with students, faculty, and staff of color (including essential workers), and listen to the needs of the community around race and identity.

            11. Empower departments, centers, and related fields to tailor inclusion efforts in discipline-specific ways. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity should collaborate with individual departments on discipline-specific action plans for anti-racist research, teaching, hiring, and retention; and serve as a channel of communication between departments in order to share best practices and prevent duplication of efforts.

            12. Be explicit about the University’s policy towards non-DACAmented undocumented applicants. While the University has supported DACAmented applicants and admits, its policies towards undocumented applicants without DACA are deliberately and unacceptably ambiguous—to the frustration of applicants and faculty alike.

            13. Reconsider the use of standardized testing (SAT, GRE, etc.), which research shows to be strongly correlated with the underrepresentation of people of color on college campuses.

            14. Acknowledge on the homepage that the University is sited on indigenous land, as many Canadian universities do. Such a statement cannot be relegated to a special page about “inclusive Princeton.” The statement on our homepage should explicitly acknowledge that this land is unceded, as follows: “We acknowledge that the land of this University is the unceded traditional territory of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation.” This corrects the current statement, which does not include this important fact about how founders of the University settled on this land.

            15. Remove questions about misdemeanors and felony convictions from admissions applications, and all applications to work and/or study at Princeton. In recognition that mass incarceration and predatory policing not only menace the safety of all people of color at the University and their families but also hinder our community’s progress towards racial justice, heed the Princeton Faculty Call to Action to Divest from Private Prison and Detention Corporations.

            16. Substantially increase the University’s financial contributions to community organizations in central New Jersey that are directly involved in the work of rectifying racial and socioeconomic inequality. Boost the efforts of the Black Leadership Coalition to support Trenton businesses.


            There has been no significant demographic change in the faculty’s make-up since the University last addressed the issue of inclusion in a report in 2013. Past initiatives have failed. In 2001-02, among 675 laddered (or “tenure track”) faculty, there were 18 Black faculty members, 18 Latinx faculty persons, and 0 Indigenous people among the faculty ranks—meaning, 5% of the faculty was composed of persons of color from underrepresented groups. Some twenty years later, in 2019-2020, among 814 faculty, there were 30 Black, 31 Latinx, and 0 Indigenous persons. That’s 7%, as noted above using figures from the Office of Institutional Research. The numbers are even worse in STEM fields taken on their own. This is not progress by any standard; it falls woefully short of U.S. demographics as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau, which reports Black and Hispanic persons at 32% of the total population. Nor do any of these numbers begin to account for the enormous amount of invisible labor that all colleagues of color do on campus, whether or not they belong to underrepresented groups, when called upon to present the image of a diverse faculty to the world. We recommend that you immediately:

            1. Facilitate and prioritize Target of Opportunity cluster hires across related disciplines. Increase faculty lines for departments and programs that hire faculty of color. Consider a multi-year rotation of cluster hiring by division (e.g., Year 1: 5 new faculty in Division 1, Year 2: 5 new faculty in Division 2, etc.). Consider giving faculty of color a full year of course relief to run such searches.

            2. Fund a chaired professorship in Indigenous Studies for a scholar who decenters white frames of reference and researches “the cultural traditions and political experiences of Indigenous Peoples (especially in the Western Hemisphere) through historical and contemporary lenses,” to cite Brown University’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative.

            3. Give substantial FTE to those departments and programs with a track record of supporting faculty of color, such as Gender and Sexuality Studies, American Studies (Latinx, Asian), African American Studies, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and Anthropology.

            4. Enforce repercussions (as in, no hires) for departments that show no progress in appointing faculty of color. Reject search authorization applications and offers that show no evidence of a concerted effort to assemble a diverse candidate pool.

            5. Require anti-bias training for all faculty participating in faculty searches, coupled with a requirement that all departments applying for search authorization specify in their submission to the DOF how they will identify and recruit scholars of color.

            6. Provide additional human resources for the support of junior faculty of color. Princeton’s institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is not on its own sufficient. Consider the hiring, under the auspices of Counseling and Psychological Services and/or the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, of additional staff and professional coaches who are trained to address the unique demands and pressures faced by faculty of color. It should not fall solely to faculty of color to mentor and support one another.

            7. Give new assistant professors summer move-in allowances on July 1 that cover rent deposits, first month’s rent, and rent and food for the summer. These allowances should be automatic and not conditional on first requesting a salary advance.

            8. Accord greater importance to service as part of annual salary reviews.

            9. Recognize (through prizes, course releases, and summer salary) faculty involved in inclusion (including community facing) efforts. Institute a university-wide faculty mentoring/teaching award for those who work with Black students, and recognize the winners at Commencement.

            10. Implement transparent annual reporting of demographic data on hiring, promotion, tenuring, and retention to show progress or lack thereof, comparable to the annual report produced by Harvard or the Hispanic Equity Report prepared by faculty at the University of Texas at Austin.

            11. Constitute a committee composed entirely of faculty that would oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty, following a protocol for grievance and appeal to be spelled out in Rules and Procedures of the Faculty. Guidelines on what counts as racist behavior, incidents, research, and publication will be authored by a faculty committee for incorporation into the same set of rules and procedures.


            1. Support departmental and program efforts to identify and recruit postdoctoral scholars of color. The new Presidential Fellows program is one potential avenue for expansion, but it may be more efficient to provide departments with the funds to create their own Prize Postdocs targeting scholars of color for postdocs. As above, we should aim for a substantially higher number of cluster or cohort hires.

            2. Invest real resources in the success of these postdocs, through mentorship and cohort-building.

            3. Ensure salary and benefits equity for postdoctoral fellows, and provide additional financial resources to address their specific research and professional needs. Fund moving expenses in full for all Presidential Postdocs and significantly increase their access to discretionary research funds.

            4. Integrate postdoctoral scholars fully into the life of their host department or program by inviting them to participate in deliberations about research, teaching, and hiring.

            5. Incentivize departments to hire postdocs (through the Presidential Fellows Program and/or department- and center-specific Prize Postdocs) as tenure-track colleagues by providing FTE above and beyond existing ToO support toward the hire. Commit to hiring at least 20 assistant professors out of these postdoctoral pools over a five-year period.


            We stand with the demands of Princeton Graduate Students United to work more closely with departments to ensure the mental and physical well-being of students whose lives and research have been interrupted by COVID-19. We offer these recommendations in full support of theirs:

            1. Help departments educate themselves on the importance of holistic admissions, and train directors of graduate studies to model anti-racism more effectively for their faculty peers in discussing and evaluating graduate applications.

            2. Increase financial support for the new Predoctoral Fellowship Initiative, and more vigorously advocate for it and the values upon which it is based. Thus far, the University’s lack of investment in this program has had a bearing upon results. Sixteen departments nominally participated in the program this cycle, but only four pre-docs will arrive on campus in the fall. The policy of counting pre-doctoral admits against the overall departmental cohort allocation should be discontinued.

            3. Support discipline-specific actions (e.g., recruitment through lab manager positions) rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach.

            4. For all admissions, make fee waivers transparent, easy to use, and well-advertised. Fully fund graduate visits for prospective students in need, and consider disbursing a stipend in advance instead of having them complete a reimbursement form. Give incoming graduate students summer move-in allowances on July 1 that cover rent deposits, first month’s rent, and rent and food expenses for the summer.


            We stand with the students of the School of Public and International Affairs whose demands were recently circulated. We offer these recommendations in full support of theirs:

            1. Address Princeton’s history with slavery as part of First-Year Orientation, using the resources of the Princeton and Slavery Project. Keep pace with Harvard, which, in November 2019, announced a renewed investment in confronting its ties to the legacy of slavery through “a range of programmatic and scholarly efforts…for which the University is initially committing $5 million.”

            2. Establish a specific committee modeled after the Honor Committee that addresses cases of discrimination in the classroom, in line with student demands.

            3. Acknowledge, credit, and incentivize anti-racist student activism. Such acknowledgment should, at a minimum, take the form of reparative action, beginning with a formal public University apology to the members of the Black Justice League and their allies. Assign proper credit to the Black Justice League for the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from the residential college and the School of Public and International Affairs.

            4. Provide anti-racism resources and practices to every student group approved by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. Offer incentives for groups doing anti-racist/community facing and inclusive work.

            5. Create and fund a student-led symposium, lecture, or public conversation series on race.

            6. Use the Pre-read. Harness the potential of this campus-wide endeavor as an annual tool for recognizing and interrogating the history and nature of systemic racism. In consultation with faculty and external advisors, commit to repeatedly seeking out texts that approach this topic from a range of disciplines, including literature, humanities and the social sciences, prioritizing authors who identify as people of color and are explicitly engaged with anti-racist work. The Anti-Racism Book Initiative is a student-led version of what the Pre-read might set out to achieve.

            7. Establish peer mentoring partnerships within programs and departments, so that senior students, including historically underrepresented students, can take a leadership role and mentor younger students. Peer mentors should be paid or provided some other kind of reimbursement resource, so that this network does not become another space of overburdening. The Student Peer Arts Advisors program at the Lewis Center for the Arts could serve as a model.

            8. Consider a substantial expansion of our Mellon Mays program as part of a strategic initiative for diversifying the professoriate that embraces our undergraduates and adopts a 10- to 15-year view. Fund more Mellon Mays slots so that all who want to do Mellon Mays at Princeton can. Significantly increase the resources and visibility of the Scholars Institute Fellows Program.

            9. Require and fund each department to establish a senior thesis prize for research and independent work that is actively anti-racist or expands our sense of how race is constructed in our society.

            10. Fundamentally reconsider legacy admissions, which lower academic standards and perpetuate inequality.

            11. To promote equality, open the University to more first-generation and low income students by seeking a broader pool of applicants into the Transfer program and increasing the number of persons admitted as transfers. Public universities, such as the top-rate California system, serve their regions by welcoming many students from two-year colleges, a great many of whom are students of color. Amplify and accelerate the work of the Transfer program, increasing its acceptance rate (1.4%) to match the acceptance rate for first-years or entering classes (5.5%). In order to extend its goals and outreach, equip Transfer program administrators with the tools of anti-racism and stress the importance of holistic admissions.

            12. Fund scholarships for students of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation to attend Princeton. Work to identify and support such students while in high school. Indigenous communities are by considerable measure the most egregiously underrepresented minority at the University.

            Partner with us. This vision for our campus was initiated in the days before the vote by the Trustees to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from what are now First College and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and it was completed in the wake of gratitude and determination that followed the announcement of your decision. It owes a tremendous debt of thanks to the support of numerous faculty, staff, students and alumni who volunteered generously of their time and insight to make this a more thorough and comprehensive document. But there are still a great many more measures and initiatives that can and ought to be considered, and we support and stand in solidarity with future calls to action by Black staff and administrators of color.

            We recognize that some steps offered here, such as curricular changes, hiring, and admissions, will require direct faculty endorsement and input, and we commit to work within our departments to implement these steps. What we offer here are principled steps which, if implemented with care and in consultation with all affected parties, could immediately and powerfully move the dial further toward justice for this campus and, given Princeton’s influence, for the world.

            Please support us in this effort to disrupt the institutional hierarchies perpetuating inequity and harm. Reinvigorate, with us, the service mission of our University as we seek to become—in every way, at every level, and for the first time—an anti-racist University.

            We understand that some of these suggestions are implementable now; others will require more time to enact. We would be grateful for the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the measures and actions proposed herein and an expedient timeline. An official response by late August, following the convening of the University Cabinet, could mark the start to a project we hope will be mutual and lasting. We look forward to hearing from you then.


            Tracy K. Smith, Roger S. Berlind ‘52 Professor in the Humanities; Chair, Lewis Center for the Arts

            Jenny E. Greene, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences

            Plus hundreds more.

          4. The NBER may not be known for political propaganda, but that doesn’t mean their report isn’t slanted. They only addressed protests from cities with municipal populations estimated at 100,000 or more in 2019. That eliminated Santa Monica, California which has been seeing virus increases in the past month, because their population is 91,000. The actual protest there was peaceful, but looters from outside the area came in and destroyed the business district, stripping stores, beating people, setting fires. Those looters were anything but socially distanced and many unmasked as seen on videos. The NBER paper goes into great detail on how they got to their conclusions, but uses map dots and few city or county names, so it’s not easy to identify all the places they used.

            Their bottom line is that the protests caused non participants to stay home more, so that reduced the spread of the virus overall.

            They used the COVID cases from May 15 to June 20 to illustrate their points. The first protests, however, began on May 26, the daily number of protests peaked on June 6 at over 500 according to a NYTimes chart, dropped to under 100 on June 8 and spiked again to about 150-250 on Jun 12-14. So infections would not show up until after May 28 through June 9 (2-14 days to symptoms) at the earliest and could have been spread out to June 16 to June 28, not counting community spread from infected protesters which would follow another 2-14 days later.

            Instead of youthful partying at bars in Hampton Roads and California being the cause, it is still possible the BLM activities have had a part in the surge in cases in both areas.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            Wall Street Journal also:

            Early Data Show No Uptick in Covid-19 Transmission From Protests
            Public health experts say preliminary test results are encouraging; outdoor locations and masks may have helped

            Updated June 18, 2020 1:32 pm ET
            Early coronavirus testing data from a handful of U.S. cities and states suggest that recent protests against racial injustices haven’t yet led to a marked uptick in new cases. Public-health officials warn that the data is still preliminary, however, and protest-related cases could still rise.

            In Minnesota, where the police killing of George Floyd led to protests there and across the country, 1.8% of test results have come back positive as of Monday among 3,200 protesters who were tested at community sites, the state’s health department said. An additional 8,500 Minnesota protesters have been tested through their health-care providers or at other sites, with a positivity rate of 0.99% so far, according to the department.

          6. CrazyJD Avatar

            Original publication date June 8, Note the title: “Early Data” Do you know what was updated?

  5. The state should have a wealth of information. Whether they actually do and are not using it or haven’t bothered to collect it is a question someone from the press might ask the governor today. 17,321 cases with unknown race yesterday. If the patient’s zip code isn’t on lab reports, VDH uses the doctor’s. If they don’t have that, they use the lab. Not helpful in tracking location of cases within communities.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: what Newsome and Northam say and do…

    how about adding Abbot, Ducey and DeSantis to that discussion?

    We keep invoking “science” in these discussions but if Abbot and company are also putting restrictions in place is it based on science?

    How about the major league sports? Are their actions based on science ?

    If we really don’t believe the science then why are all these other governors and other institutions also instituting restrictions?

    we’re in a conundrum… “I believe science BUT – only part of it, a lot of it is wrong… and yep, I might change my mind when it suits” . blah blah blah

    Come to think of it – we have national leadership along those same lines.

  7. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Any idea what’s happening with schools in Israel? Didn’t they reopen about a month ago?

    1. John Harvie Avatar
      John Harvie

      Look at today’s Drudge Report

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        dunno about Drudge but saw this:

        ” The road from anti-coronavirus paradigm to rampant infection in this country of 9 million people followed two months of almost total lockdown. May 17 also was the day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz swore in their “corona emergency government,” whose sole declared purpose is to fight the spread of the virus. Netanyahu’s decree that the nation’s entire school system would reopen was a political flourish to signal everything was under control.

        The announcement followed a more cautious experiment of several weeks in which only children in the first, second, and third grades were brought back to classrooms, and taught in small, non-intersecting groups called “capsules.”

        ‘The Second Wave’ of COVID Hits Israel Like a Tsunami

        Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wears a protective mask, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as he holds a weekly cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, July 5, 2020.
        Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist at the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians, said: “There was no measurable increase in contagion” while the capsules for young children were being tried out.

        The association even offered the government an investigation into school-based infections of COVID-19, but was turned down.

        Then, Levine says, “contrary to our advice, the government decided to open the entire system all at once on May 17. What happened next was entirely predictable.”

        On June 3, two weeks after schools opened, more than 244 students and staff were found to test positive for COVID-19.

        According to the education ministry, 2,026 students, teachers, and staff have contracted COVID-19, and 28,147 are in quarantine due to possible contagion.

        Just in the first two weeks of July, 393 kindergartens and schools open for summer programs have been shuttered due to cases of COVID-19.”

      2. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        Oh, that’s too bad…. but we’re exceptional; we’ll do better.

  8. S. E. Warwick Avatar
    S. E. Warwick

    It is unclear what time period the numbers released daily by VDH represent. The daily data is that available as of 5 p.m. the previous day. If there is a time lag between actual testing and reporting, the “spike” in cases we are seeing now could reflect conditions on the ground a few weeks ago, at the height of the protests.
    Perhaps the decline in deaths means that people are being diagnosed sooner and getting proper care to prevent deaths.

    1. The positive cases are added to the statistics when entered into the system…automatically each day for electronic reports, or when manually input for non-electronic reports.

      If you go to the testing tab on the VDH dashboard there are graphs with numbers by actual lab report date and at the bottom of each line is the number of positive cases for that day’s testing. The yellow line gives you the rolling seven day average of the positivity rate. These numbers change as more reports are received into the system.

      If you open a second window to the main page, you can get the number of cases by date of symptom onset with the number of confirmed cases for that starting symptom day. Backtrack 2-14 days from there to get range for exposure date.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        re: ” the rolling seven day average of the positivity rate. These numbers change as more reports are received into the system.”

        What I read says that the more testing we do – the more accurate the positivity rate.

        what say you?

        If that’s true then why is there also a claim that the number of cases is determined by the numbers of tests – and the more tests – the more cases?

        Doesn’t that mean that without more testing – we really don’t know the total number of infected – unless we use the positivity rate?

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    The problem with data. The problem with folks that obsess with data.

    Data is messy. It’s not near as cogent and structured as we’d like to think.

    never ever look at one dataset from one source and expect the truth from on high.

    compare and contrast and don’t attribute inconsistencies to nefarious motives or incompetence – at least not before you also ask yourself if you really understand the nature of it yourself.

    VDH is not the worlds worst. I know some folks think that but the truth is they are obviously not the best but likely several notches up from the worst.

    Also consider where the CDC and other government agencies get their data. That’s right – from the states – different agencies slice and dicing different data, etc, etc… John Hopkins and others? Ditto.

    Those organizations know the “unclean” nature of data and some of what they do is try to normalize it… but it’s heavy-duty stuff by people with the right backgrounds and even they can make mistakes.

    Looking at overall data trends is probably better than expecting nirvana from one you think is super competent.

    On the testing…. it’s not how much testing and it’s not how many test positive but it’s how many are found to be positive relative to the amount of testing – the positivity rate.

    no matter how many you test – the positivity rate is informative and there are not a whole lot of ways to look at the positivity rate and confuse what it means…

  10. CrazyJD Avatar

    Allons enfants de la Patrie! Le jour de gloire est arrive!

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I dunno about the day of glory – but at the end of the day- the goal is to understand before asserting a belief.

      Too many of us, too often, look for data to support what we want to believe even when the data might be saying something different.

      We see that game played fairly frequently.

      e.g. “my data shows this”… yep… and “my data shows something differnt”.

  11. Somebody told me it was “off limits” or disallowed to ask COVID patients if they perhaps caught it in the BLM demonstrations?

    Gov Northam today said the new Virginia outbreak is due to young adults in the Tidewater region getting together without adequate social distancing.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Here are some references to the conclusions that the BLM demonstrations did not result in spread of COVID, as medical experts had warned would happen.

      1. CrazyJD Avatar

        Only problem with these references (NBER, WSJ) is they look to be five weeks old. The WSJ article is headlined “Early Data” etc etc. One thing we do know is the data changes rather swiftly in the current environment.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Yep – they both are . Are we seeing outbreaks related to the protestors – like in Minneapolis?

          By now, the right wing media would be in high trumpet if there were outbreaks related to the protestors – no? Are we seeing it?

          ‘It looked to me that there was a fair amount of mask wearing by a large number of the protestors…

          the difference might well be protestors in the streets wearing masks versus yahoos inside a bar not wearing masks standing shoulder to shoulder.


          1. CrazyJD Avatar

            If there is a difference, you have stumbled into it. Apparently the jury is still out.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            hasn’t it been long enough for us to know by now?

            In places like Texas and Florida – is there any correlation between the cities that had protests and other cities with “bars”?

            Even the prior protestors against the lock downs and masks and 2A stuff did not seem to cause spread of the contagion… right?

            we know by now – that it’s people inside in close proximity that are spreading the virus… not folks in the outdoors…

            Hey – they’re moving the GOP National Convention to OUTDOORS!

            come on Crazy – fess up.

          3. CrazyJD Avatar

            I think I did say that you stumbled into the difference, an important one. But you are making a rather large assumption about what we should know by now. This is what’s known as the burden of proof fallacy. You make a claim that relies on the absence of proof rather than its presence. All we have is “early data”, which you will admit changes quickly in this environment, no? Then you assume that what we don’t know anything about tracks with the early data, a claim that, as the proponent of the argument. you are under the obligation logically to prove. It’s not up to me to prove anything about the absence of information.

  12. Top-GUN Avatar

    Dick H-S says… “Science can’t give you a number of “allowable” or “acceptable” deaths. That is a moral or political question.”
    Well when or where to wear masks, whether to allow people to sit on the beach and play music, whether to open schools deciding what businesses should stay open are political decisions also. Locking down the economy to slow the spread is a political decision. As Rush has pointed out democrat governors want the economy in bad shape to help get Biden elected…
    The ultimate political decision is what is the allowable maximum deaths per day, because that is the end result of all the other decisions, political, scientific or otherwise.

  13. LarrytheG Avatar

    I don’t know about Rush but isn’t this sorta like saying putting up speed limit signs or prohibiting smoking indoors is “political”.

    Or requiring folks to go through a search before getting on an airliner.

    Or requiring children to get vaccinations if they are to attend school.

    All are political, yes , but they aren’t they also based on public safety and health to protect people – something we do – and have done for a long time?

    The idea that Dem govs would hurt the economy in their own states so as to hurt Trump…. yep.. that sounds like Rush…

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