“This Feels Like a Death Sentence”: Rikers Jail Inmates Speak Out As Coronavirus Cases Spread

Inside a maximum-security building at the Rikers Island jail complex, Haleen, a 28-year-old man incarcerated on a parole violation, wishes he had an inhaler. At one point this week, the coronavirus was spreading through the New York City jail more than 85 times faster than the average rate of infection in the United States, according to one estimate. Haleen has asthma, which makes him especially vulnerable if he gets sick. Another guy in his unit was taken to isolation after running a high fever. “I’m praying I don’t catch it,” Haleen told me in a phone call Wednesday from the rec room, where about 20 men were watching television. “You have officers walking around with masks—one came in today with …

US now has the world’s most coronavirus cases

On Thursday, the United States crossed an unfortunate milestone in the global fight against the novel coronavirus: leading the world in confirmed cases. By Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m. PT, the U.S. reports 82,404 confirmed cases of the coronavirus to China’s 81,782 according to a popular COVID-19 tracking tool from Johns Hopkins. Italy, regarded as the world’s emerging hotspot in recent weeks, dropped to third with 80,589 cases. Image Credits: Johns Hopkins As the scientific community warned in the U.S. for some time, a lower case count doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no cause for concern. Widespread testing is one of the most effective ways of containing an early epidemic, but it can also lead to boosted numbers when compared to …

Underground skyscrapers and off-grid bunkers: inside the world of preppers

From the mega-rich to ‘prepsteaders’, Bradley Garrett has spent the last four years with people preparing for the end of the world. What can they teach us about our current crisis? “Nothing sets your priorities straight better than a disaster,” says Bradley Garrett. “Making sure your basics are covered, making sure your loved ones are cared for. These are the things that matter. Going back to survival mode is a good thing … We’re going to be in lockdown for some months. But although the worst-case scenarios are terrifying, we will survive as a species. And we will learn.” A California geographer and urban explorer, Garrett has spent the past four years researching his book Bunker: Preparing for the End …

Phil Ochs: the doomed folk singer who woke up from the American dream

In 1970, Phil Ochs released Greatest Hits, an album titled with savage irony as his career fell apart. But 50 years on, it remains a powerful indictment of an America losing its way As a kid in the 1950s, Phil Ochs cut class and spent afternoons at the local movie house. The Searchers and Rebel Without a Cause were two of his favourites. Always a dreamer, Ochs fantasised that one day he could be a stoic cowboy like John Wayne, a teenage rebel like James Dean, or a rockabilly sex symbol like Elvis Presley. He took his early love of Hollywood with him to New York, where he became one of the most celebrated folk singers in the world, culminating …