Museum of America in the Pandemic Year, 2020

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Aug 26: A portable rapid COVID-19 test that can deliver results in under 15 minutes was cleared by the FDA under an EUA. The test is aimed at places like workplaces and schools. A white, male, teenager is arrested by police for killing two people and wounding another during the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He thought he was a militia member defending life and property when he killed two unarmed people.  Hurricane Laura hits Louisiana. Coronavirus cases in children rose by 21% in the last month.

From the cutting room floor ...

Last night a 17-year-old white boy drove from Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where locals have been protesting the killing of Jacob Blake since Sunday and shot a BLM protester. Several other protesters chased him and tried to take the AR-15 he was holding from his hands. He shot two of them after they knocked him to the ground. Then he got up and walked toward the cops, gun still strapped onto him. The Kenosha police drove right past him. He couldn’t even turn himself in. Not only did he walk away from the scene, but he made it all the way home to another state and went to bed. It took hours to find him.[1] In related news, Kenosha police have put Officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Blake, on leave.

In solidarity with the ongoing protests, the National Basketball League season—already plagued by fits and starts because of the pandemic and in response to the Black Lives Matter protests—paused again. The Milwaukee Bucks, LA Lakers, and the other NBA players refused to play their playoff games today. Kenny Smith, my favorite NBA commentator, walked off the set in support of the players. The league, in response, cancelled all games for the day. Athletes of different backgrounds, salaries, races, and standing have manifested a kind of race and class consciousness that we have never seen before: they struck.

It’s true that the NBA has a history of collective action. In 1954,” Bob Cousy organized the NBPA’s fledgling union—boosted by a threat that they would join the AFL-CIO instead of their own stand-alone union—securing the timely delivery of contracts, a seven-dollar per diem, and the referral of player-owner disputes to the NBA president. Even after Cousy retired, the NBPA won pensions, medical and dental insurance, and increased league-minimum salaries.[5] 

But now, it’s more than just about job issues. This organizational bent has intersected with the demographics of the league to create a situation where players feel profoundly connected to the racism they see happening on the streets. During the 2014-15 season, for example, 74.4% of athletes identified as African-American. The same season, 95% of owners identified as white. Tellingly, this racial-cultural contrast has divided players and their employers in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting. “The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African-American communities,” announced Bucks guards Sterling Brown and George Hill. “Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus … cannot be on basketball.”[6]

Unlike in Portland a month ago, other states are immediately sending their own National Guard units to Kenosha, Wisconsin.[9] This tips the hand at some governors’ priorities. Alabama, for instance, is sending 350 National Guard units to Wisconsin, instead of to neighboring Louisiana, which is about to get walloped by Hurricane Laura tonight (Louisiana might receive two attack helicopters—why weapons?!).[10] So far, some buildings have been burned in Kenosha. In contrast, hundreds of buildings are about to be destroyed by this hurricane.

The coronavirus front is also discouraging. The CDC just issued bewildering new guidance saying that you do not need to get a test just because you’ve come into contact with a COVID-positive person. You should be showing actual symptoms before getting tested. This contravenes evidence that symptomless people spread the virus –a message that the CDC has been saying for months![13] Even more concerning, Fauci says he was in surgery when this change was made and that he disagrees with it.[14] It feels like a version of the “magic virus hypothesis,” that non-symptomatic people must be carrying less of the virus and therefore be less contagious (there is no evidence for this claim).[16]

I stay up late, watching the first bands of rain and wind from Hurricane Laura lash cameras along the Louisiana coast. It feels like there is so much darkness out there right now, so little help for people.[18]



[1] Jessica McBride, “Kyle Rittenhouse Named as Accused Kenosha Shooter,”, August 26, 2020,; Meg Jones, “After Teen Is Charged with Killing 2 at Protests over Jacob Blake Shooting, Turmoil in Kenosha Spreads and Reaches New Heights,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 26, 2020,

[5] Robert Bradley, “The History of NBA Labor,”

[6] Ben Pickman, “Bucks Players Release Statement on Deciding to Sit out vs Magic,” Sports Illustrated, August 26, 2020,

[9] Tarisai Ngangura, “More National Guard Troops Could Be On Their Way to Kenosha,” Vanity Fair, August 26, 2020,

[10] Mike Cason, “Ivey to Send 350 Guard Members to Wisconsin If Needed,”, August 26, 2020,

[13] Adrianna Rodriguez, “CDC Changes COVID-19 Testing Guidelines: This ‘will Kill,’ Experts Say,” USA TODAY, August 26, 2020, sec. Health,

[14] Cody Fenwick, “Dr. Fauci Raises Alarm about New Changes to CDC Coronavirus Guidelines,”, August 27, 2020,

[16] Stephen Kessler, “Opinion: The Magic Virus Hypothesis,” CNN, August 26, 2020,

[18] Mark Sudduth et al., Hurricane Laura Landfall (2020) Part 6 – Storm Field Work – Vehicle Cam (Hurricanetrack, 2020),

Read more

Trevor Noah, “Why Did the Police Shoot Jacob Blake?,” The Daily Social Distancing Show | Comedy Central, August 26, 2020,

“Hurricane Laura strengthens to Category 4 storm,” NBC Nightly News, August 26, 2020,


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Jones, Meg. “After Teen Is Charged with Killing 2 at Protests over Jacob Blake Shooting, Turmoil in Kenosha Spreads and Reaches New Heights.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 26, 2020.
ACLU Oregon. “Portland Veterans, Abducted Protester, Black Activists Sue Trump in ACLU Lawsuit.” ACLU of Oregon, August 26, 2020.
Chan, J. Clara, and Ross A. Lincoln. “RNC Naturalization Sparks Outage: ‘Not About Worshiping a President.’” TheWrap (blog), August 26, 2020.
Lopatto, Elizabeth. “Clearview AI CEO Says ‘over 2,400 Police Agencies’ Are Using Its Facial Recognition Software.” The Verge, August 26, 2020.
Ngangura, Tarisai. “More National Guard Troops Could Be On Their Way to Kenosha.” Vanity Fair, August 26, 2020.
Rodriguez, Adrianna. “CDC Changes COVID-19 Testing Guidelines: This ‘will Kill,’ Experts Say.” USA TODAY, August 26, 2020, sec. Health.
Kessler, Stephen. “Opinion: The Magic Virus Hypothesis.” CNN, August 26, 2020.
Guardian sport. “Kenny Smith Walks off NBA on TNT Set in Solidarity with Bucks over Blake Shooting.” The Guardian, August 26, 2020, sec. Sport.
Earls, Aaron. “Americans Finding Solace in Streaming, Not Scripture.” Facts & Trends, August 26, 2020.
Cason, Mike. “Ivey to Send 350 Guard Members to Wisconsin If Needed.” al, August 26, 2020.
Botkin, Brad. “NBA Postpones Wednesday Playoff Games after Bucks Players Walk out: What to Know and What’s Next.”, August 26, 2020.
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Additional Links

* Timeline summaries at the top of the page come from a variety of sources:, including The American Journal of Managed Care COVID-19 Timeline (, the Just Security Group at the NYU School of Law (, the “10 Things,” daily entries from The Week (, as well as a variety of newspapers and television programs.