Boston Globe: Daily Alert

Hydroxychloroquine can cause hallucinations and paranoia. And how about sharing Memorial Day this year

By Teresa Hanafin, Globe Staff

Good day. It’s Tuesday, May 19, the 140th day of the year. A quite circumscribed Memorial Day is in six days. Sunrise in Boston was at 5:18 a.m. and sunset will be at 8:03 p.m., for 14 hours and 45 minutes of sunlight. The waning moon is 8 percent full.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says you can crush the seeds of sweet cicely and use them as a polish for wooden furniture. You can use her seeds even if she’s not very pleasant.

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Today’s coronavirus / COVID-19 numbers in the US
From the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University

Confirmed US cases: 1,519,317 (it was 1,429,990 on Friday)
Confirmed US deaths: 90,994 (it was 86,744 Friday)

Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug the FDA and lots of doctors say Americans shouldn’t take unless they are part of a clinical trial or in the hospital because it has been shown to cause dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythm in people with the coronavirus, which you often don’t know you have for several days.

Trump, who’ll turn 74 in less than a month, is obese and has heart disease, which doesn’t seem to make him a particularly good candidate for the meds, but then again, most Republicans didn’t think he was a particularly good political candidate back in 2016 and now they’re licking his swollen ankles.

Which they’ll be able to do more of when he heads to Capitol Hill today for lunch with Senate Republicans.

But hey, what better way to distract the country’s attention from more than 90,000 dead Americans than to throw a shiny object into the air.

It also diverts attention away from his latest firing of somebody who was conducting oversight of his administration: Steve Linick, the State Department’s inspector general who was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for allegedly using your money to make his personal life more comfy. He also reportedly was looking into whether Pompeo illegally sold weapons to Saudi Arabia (which slaughtered an American journalist) and the United Arab Emirates so they can bomb civilians in Yemen.

And there’s Obamagate, in which the former president apparently heads up a worldwide crime syndicate whose only goal is to hurt Trump. Oh, and Trump’s sons are spreading it around that Joe Biden is a pedophile. It’s not clear if that is part of Obama’s crime ring, or something separate, and whether Hillary’s child-abusing pizza joint is involved … it’s all very confusing.

Just know that every single thing that every single Democrat and every single person who worked in the federal government while Obama was president — hundreds of thousands of devious criminals — says or does at work or at home is designed to hurt Trump.

With more than half the population of the country and untold millions around the world involved, you’d think he’d be prone in a sand trap by now unable to sit up. All of these conspirators certainly are inept.

This dangerous conspiracy arrayed against him is probably why Trump will break 40 years of tradition and not invite Obama back to the White House for the unveiling of his and Michelle’s official portraits. Heck, Malia might give Trump a shiv in the back! (I hear it’s Sasha’s job to take down Melania.) For his part, Obama is too busy running his criminal enterprise to go anyway.

By the way, hydroxychloroquine can cause hallucinations and paranoia.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is getting a grilling on Capitol Hill today about his control of $600 billion in loans he can award to companies with up to 15,000 employees. He gets to set the rules, but under questioning by Senator Elizabeth Warren — who called the money a “slush fund” — refused to agree to require those companies to use some of the money to keep people on their payroll.

Workers? Did you say workers? Who dat?

Barton Gellman’s latest, “Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State,” is out today. This excerpt in The Atlantic is downright creepy.

Now that just about every TV network has unveiled its fall lineup, The Wrap has an overview of the networks’ retained and canceled shows all in one place here.

Mark Zuckerberg will be interviewed by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell tonight and promises to unveil “a new feature” on Facebook which I hope to God isn’t a bot that can detect the last time you showered or had your hair colored.

Finally, I know that Memorial Day is specifically to honor members of the military who lost their lives while serving, as of course it should be. But wouldn’t it be nice if just this year, the day could be shared to also remember those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus?

You know, every day I update the numbers of Americans who have become infected — 1.5 million so far — and the number who have died — it will be close to 100K by Monday — and then just move on to write other items.

I think if we don’t know somebody who has died from this horrible disease, we’re kind of complacent about the mounting toll of dead and dying, and how rapidly we have lost so many fellow Americans.

Maybe if we stopped and really thought about it, tried to grasp the full measure of what is happening, it would be too emotionally overwhelming.

Why aren’t flags at half-staff across the land? Once a week, why not have a public reading outside the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda of the names of those who have died in the previous seven days, as we do annually on the anniversary of 9/11?

I believe we need a far more public, and yes, maybe a far more emotional, acknowledgement of the sacrifice made by the front-line professionals who have died, the blue collar workers who kept our food and other supplies moving who have died, the veterans who have died in soldiers’ homes and nursing homes, the ordinary people who have suffered and died.

Such national public tributes usually happen after a tragedy is over. We can’t wait for that, because that isn’t coming anytime soon. We need to acknowledge our fellow Americans who we have lost before it’s too late. Maybe this year, Memorial Day is one day to do it.

Thanks for reading. How do you think we should honor those we have lost to the virus? Send comments and suggestions to, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you tomorrow.

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