theories
March 28, 2020

While children certainly aren't immune to the dangers of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, studies show they are at substantially lower risk of developing severe symptoms than adults.

That's rare when it comes to infectious diseases. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and professor of social and natural science at Yale University, points out that such diseases are the leading killers of children under the age of 5 around the globe each year. Yet, COVID-19 does not appear to be a contributor to the trend.

Christakis says scientists aren't sure exactly, but there are some theories developing. One possibility is that kids have more "adaptive" immune systems because they're still developing. Immune systems for adults are based more on memory, making them more susceptible to an unfamiliar virus, like the new coronavirus behind the pandemic. Along those lines, because many adults have built up immunity to other coronaviruses, their bodies might be overreacting to the virus.

Another dose of good news, Christakis surmises, is that children probably won't become more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19 if it becomes endemic as they age, even if they lose some of the theoretical immunological protections that are present only in youthful systems. Tim O'Donnell

March 25, 2020

President Trump said Tuesday he hopes to get the U.S. economy, ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, "up and just raring to go" by April 12. But "in most cases, it's state leaders — not the federal government — who are responsible for both imposing and lifting the stay-at-home orders and other restrictions intended to stop the contagion," The Associated Press notes. And their bipartisan, near-universal rejection of Trump's timeline "suggests Trump's talk of an early reboot is unlikely to gain traction." So why is Trump overpromising with an improbable Easter economic resurrection? Here, three theories:

1. Trump thinks it's good politics: It's increasingly clear "the gap between Trump's optimism and impatience and the caution and gravity of other figures in the crisis is exactly the point, in political terms," John F. Harris argues at Politico. Trump "is eager to own the only good thing about a crisis that has paralyzed the country and left millions of people in housebound despair: The reality that life will at some point slowly lurch back to normal. He is determined to make other people — specifically, governors, and public health officials — own everything else, including the reality that massive shutdowns will continue long after the Christian holy day on April 12."

2. He's pandering to his base: Trump told Fox News — and presumably his conservative Christian supporters — that he picked Easter Sunday because "you'll have packed churches all over our country, I think it would be a beautiful time."

Not all Christians appreciated the religious-economic conflation.

3. There is no strategy: "Trump has never been known for his patience or long attention span," AP notes. And as the death toll rises and the markets swing wildly, "Trump is grasping for a strategy before the crisis destroys his presidency," Gabriel Sherman reports at Vanity Fair. Some top advisers tell him the pandemic isn't as bad as the media portrays it, and one former West Wing official compared Trump to "an 11-year-old boy waiting for the fairy godmother to bring him a magic pill." Peter Weber

July 6, 2018

Rudy Giuliani, come out, come out, wherever you are! Ever since being named as one of President Trump's lawyers in April, the former New York City mayor has been making appearances just about everywhere — only he's gone uncharacteristically quiet in recent weeks, Business Insider points out.

Officially, Giuliani is telling the press he's been on vacation. "Was in Paris for FreeIran 2018 and day in London," he told Business Insider in response to their questions. "Work and visiting friends in Normandy on the Fourth. Back now in NYC." But Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has a different theory about why Giuliani has suspiciously stopped running his mouth.

"I think that Trump has realized that Rudy is a disaster waiting to happen with every appearance," Avenatti said. "He has been an absolute train wreck as Trump's lawyer." Avenatti might be onto something — in May, Giuliani revealed that he hadn't spoken to Trump in "a couple of weeks." That was shortly after Giuliani had stumbled into potentially getting Trump into legal trouble during a routine interview with Sean Hannity.

Avenatti additionally suggested that his threat to expose evidence of Giuliani "voluntarily viewing pornography" might have scared Trump's lawyer into keeping quiet — or at least quieter than usual. Read more about Avenatti's theories, and what Giuliani has been up to, at Business Insider. Jeva Lange

November 17, 2016

Donald Trump's former campaign manager turned CNN commentator turned likely political appointee Corey Lewandowski thinks he knows why Trump won the election, The Telegraph reports. And it isn't exactly because Trump outplayed Hillary Clinton.

"With 11 days to go [before the election], something amazing happened," Lewandowski told Oxford Union's debating society Wednesday evening, referring to FBI Director James Comey's decision to announce the bureau was renewing its probe into Clinton's emails. "What that did was remind people that there are two different rules in Washington — those of the elites and the privileged, and those for everybody else. When Comey moved forward with that investigation ... it allowed the [Trump] campaign a little spring in their step, and for them to redouble their efforts."

Analysts have been divided on how big a role the Comey investigation actually played in Clinton losing the election. Nevertheless, Lewandowski called Americans "very smart" to choose Trump on Election Day. Jeva Lange

July 12, 2016

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) has been indicted on charges of using a scholarship fund with her chief of staff as a "personal slush fund," and she is now insinuating that if it weren't for all the attention around her, the Orlando shooter could have been stopped before he killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub, BuzzFeed reports.

"These are the same agents that was not able to do a thorough investigation of [the shooter], and we ended up with 50 people dead," Brown said. Brown's lawyer echoed the theory: "Perhaps had it chosen to devote its resources more thoughtfully, 50 innocent people would be alive today."

Brown further stirred up controversy when she wrote in a blog post Sunday that "two black men were needlessly gunned down by police; five Dallas police officers were slain by a demented man, and on Friday I had to appear in federal court."

If she is found guilty on all counts, Brown faces a maximum of 357 years in prison as well as a $5 million fine. Jeva Lange

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