Everything wrong with U.S. COVID relief efforts in one 30-second clip

Americans need money to live.

Under capitalism, this is always true, but Americans especially need money right now, when tens of millions of them have lost jobs through no fault of their own, and have as many bills as ever while also having to suddenly homeschool their children.

Americans need money to live, and they certainly need more than the $1,200 stimulus checks that the government issued in spring and early summer. They need more than the additional $600 a week in unemployment relief that stopped coming recently.

If those Americans don’t get the money they need soon, they will face bankruptcy, eviction, and worse.

All that’s standing in the way of such dire straits is a grotesque gridlock typified by this horrific viral clip from Monday night’s televised debate between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his challenger, Kentucky politician Amy McGrath.

In the 30-second clip, McConnell comes off as ghoulish. He is laughing at the idea that the admittedly somewhat pork-soaked $3 trillion relief bill that House Democrats passed in May could have possibly led to a compromise. He is laughing because he has a pillowy comfortable lead in this Senate race and knows he is in no real danger. But it sure looks as though he’s laughing at the impractical, impossibly naive suggestion that he could break through all the bureaucratic bumper cars and find an austerity-transcending solution to a once-in-a-century problem.

It’s as succinct a summary as one might find for why so many Americans continue to find themselves in an increasingly desperate situation. Although it’s only a 30-second clip pulled from a much longer debate, it more or less sums up the entire six-minute stretch during which the two sides batted around the topic of COVID-19 relief.

The longer segment begins with McGrath giving the White House and Congress an F-grade on their coronavirus response.

“Senator McConnell’s one job is to help America through this crisis right now in passing legislation to keep our economy afloat so people can make ends meet,” McGrath says. “And instead of doing that, he’s trying to ram through a Supreme Court nominee right now.”

When McGrath goes on to mention the relief bill that the House passed in May, McConnell’s response, as in the damning 30-second clip, is to let out a little chuckle. He rejects the bill she refers to for the following reasons: It provided healthcare to “illegals,” supplied tax cuts to “rich people in New York and California,” and “had more money in it for Puerto Rico than Kentucky.” Meanwhile, McConnell claims, the heroic Republicans in the Senate have been “trying to put something reasonable together.” He touts his efforts to add liability protections, so “people” don’t get sued over COVID-19 regulations—which is a rhetorical flight of fancy, since by “people,” he means business and schools.

McGrath rightly responds by pointing out how McConnell somehow found a way to cut through the clutter and pass a massively unpopular tax cut three years ago, one that has since proven to benefit billionaires more than the working class. Of course, the difference in that instance is that McConnell didn’t have to deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi back then, because Republicans still controlled both the House and the Senate.

As far as Pelosi goes, McConnell complains, with some justification, that she wants too much money for “things unrelated to the problem.” It’s hard to argue with that point, in a vacuum. However, it’s ludicrous to suggest that the solution was to reject the bill entirely, and that the Senate GOP-proposed bill from September—with its liability lawsuit protections for businesses, schools, and healthcare providers—was much better.

“I don’t think they want a solution prior to the election,” McConnell says.

The Senate Majority Leader’s insistence that only one side is at fault for Americans not getting the money they need, and that they are doing so for political reasons, is just demonstrably false.

Last week, Senate Republicans had the following to say about the prospect of making a relief deal before the election:

Both sides either seem to think now—or have thought at some point along the way—that the optics of the other side refusing to make a deal will ensure that their side doesn’t incur blame for the lack of relief. McConnell just happens to be a bit more obvious and supervillain-esque about his machinations, perhaps because he is confident that he’ll have the support of Kentuckians either way, but the problem doesn’t rest solely on his shoulders or even his side.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans are stretched beyond thin right now, and they need money to live. Their last concern is who, precisely, is responsible for their relief, as long as they receive it.

Their precarious position is no laughing matter.

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Coronavirus testing: Israel to develop 30-second coronavirus test kit with India: All you need to know | India News

NEW DELHI: Israel and India will work together to develop a new generation set of Covid-19 tests that aim to bring the entire testing process down to a few seconds, be widely available, and ultimately help to open economies. The new tests will make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
What will be the role of India?
The new testing process will be tested in India, if successful, be manufactured in India, and marketed jointly by Israel and India to the world.
A special flight will be dispatched from Israel in the coming week which will include Israeli military R&D scientists and tech specialists who will work with a corresponding Indian team under the Prime minister’s principal scientific adviser Dr K. Vijayaraghavan at AIIMS for about two weeks.
The “breakthrough technologies” that would be tested in India include a voice test, a breathalyser test and an isothermal test, said Dani Gold, the head of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development, the Israeli ministry of defence.
What are the different types of tests performed by the new test kit?

  • Voice Test
    This online voice test is based on artificial intelligence. The test analyzes the recording of a human voice and aims to identify changes in the patient’s voice and/or deterioration in the condition of his/her respiratory system.
  • Breathalyzer test
    Detection based on terra-hertz waves: As part of an R&D program, officials developed a system of detecting the virus using THZ waves. The patient must breathe into a sterile sampling kit, after which his/her sample is analyzed using artificial intelligence.
  • Isothermal testing
    This is a biochemical testing method that enables the detection of the virus in a saliva sample. An inexpensive sample kit has been developed, which detects the presence of the virus with the help of a chemical reaction that takes place once the content is heated at about 60 degrees Celsius. The kit is suitable for at-home use and produces a result within 30 minutes.
  • Testing using Polyamino acids
    This is a biochemical method that enables the detection of Coronavirus proteins collected in a saliva sample. Using the appropriate instrumentation, a sample may be analyzed in several minutes. In Video: India and Israel join hands to develop rapid testing for Covid-19 in under 30 secs

What is the company making these test kits?
NanoScent, the firm making the test kits, said an extensive trial in Israel for the presence of live virus delivered results with 85 per cent accuracy, and the product could receive regulatory approval within months.
Chief executive officer Oren Gavriely said that while visiting the United States in January, he sensed his firm’s expertise may be needed to help confront the novel virus circulating in Asia that appeared to be spreading to the West.
“We said we’ll invest one week into it and see what’s happening, and this one week never stopped,” he said.
What is the procedure of testing?
The test begins with a few short questions about COVID-19 exposure and symptoms, displayed on the phone of the person administering the procedure.
Test subjects then inhale through the nose, hold their breath, close one nostril and exhale through the other, pushing breath through a handheld tube into a small bag called the “Air Trap”.
The tube is then plugged into the “Scent Reader”, a small rectangular device that whirrs softly as it sucks the air out of the bag.
Within seconds the results — “Covid-19 negative” during AFP’s visit — appear on the phone.
What is the principle behind the new technology?
Researchers at NanoScent’s headquarters in northern Israel are refining the virus recognition technology, which relies on “odours and the pattern of odours”, Gavriely said.
After analysing the breath of roughly 1,000 Israeli Covid-19 patients, the firm was able to identify detectable smells associated with the virus, the chief executive added.
“We pick up on a pattern, we record that pattern and then we can detect if someone has, or is suspected to have, Covid-19.”
If the breathalyser result is positive, people should automatically be sent for a lab test, he said.
What is the cost of per test?
The device will likely cost less than $10 per test, “a fraction of the cost of the lab test”, Gavriely said.

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