"Each year, New York City releases data in an annual Mayor’s Management Report that’s supposed to account for how well city agencies are performing. This year, more than any in recent memory, that report helps us make sense of what’s happened and still happening to New York," writes Laura Nahmias. "The statistics form a snapshot of our collective anguish — a sense of the extraordinary breadth and scope of what we’ve lost to the coronavirus."
"As a nation, we are more segregated into blue and red enclaves than ever. This means that most people don’t regularly encounter others with opposite views. Trump-lovers and Trump-haters rarely share the same space. So, when differences occur with people you love and trust over how to behave in a deadly pandemic — where geography and a political divide is not necessarily present — the conflict can be especially distressing," write George Loewenstein and Elke U. Weber. "Social science provides some clues for why this is the case."
"While polls indicate that 90% of Americans comprehend the importance of wearing masks away from home and 60% say they always wear one in public, at least 10% say they never wear one. My guess is that most of the diligent 60% would like to speak up when they see the maskless walk by, but we don’t. And why not?" writes Dan Rodricks. "Because we live in tense times, depressingly divided times. I figure that a person who defies medical advice to wear a mask in public is someone who supports the maskless President Donald Trump and would surely see a proselytizing mask wearer as a liberal do-gooder who can go to hell."
"In sharp contrast to its impressive performance with the CARES Act, which was passed in less than two weeks, Congress’s attempt at a second major pandemic relief bill has been a rolling disaster for nearly two months. To prevent a lasting recession from taking hold, Congress needs to find a compromise," writes Karl W. Smith. "The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House laid out just such a blueprint on Tuesday. It’s not perfect. It won’t satisfy Democratic demands for huge state and local aid, or placate the Republican desire to cut costs. It might, however, be enough to keep the economy growing through the end of the year and give the U.S. a shot at avoiding another decade of labor-market pain."
"Another new test for COVID-19 was recently authorized — and this one could be a game-changer," writes Kevin Pham. "The Abbott Diagnostics BinaxNOW antigen test is a new point-of-care test that reportedly costs only $5 to administer, delivers results in as little as 15 minutes and requires no laboratory equipment to perform. That means it can be used in clinics far from commercial labs or without relying on a nearby hospital lab. That last factor is key."
"According to the USDA, Americans spend less on food as a percent of their incomes than anyone else in the world. This may seem like a good deal, especially for people who struggle to make ends meet. But, in fact, our cheap food economy is really a crooked one, with family farmers and food system workers underwriting a system that disproportionately benefits corporations," writes Anthony Pahnke. "The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this into focus more than ever, by highlighting how the system cheats rural and urban working people out of a decent life."
"This virus has cost us too much. The numbers quantify who and what we’ve lost. The stories behind those numbers beg us to conjure our humanity and demand better," writes Heidi Stevens. "President Trump should, of course, resign."
"There were two things about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg I admired deeply. One was her relentless defense of abortion and reproductive rights, and the other was her excellent planking form in the gym. Balancing your body weight on your hands and feet for 30 to 60 seconds is a challenge at any age, let alone 80-plus years old," writes Carla Hall. "But, then, fighting for abortion rights and holding a plank draw on some of the same skills — tenacity and a willingness to push through fatigue."
"Donald Trump’s habit of projecting his own failings onto his adversaries reached a new level of absurdity on Labor Day, when he attacked the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for 'reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric' and accused them of a position that 'undermines science,'" writes Michael Hiltzik. "Throughout his tenure, as we’ve reported at length, it’s Trump who has undermined science."