Originally published in San Jose Mercury News on November 24, 2020.

Chirag Asaravala

Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective has created significant optimism — except in the Trump camp, where adverse reactions of cynicism have emerged. His acolytes believe the press release was timed to prevent an injection of good news that might have secured reelection.

It is true that Pfizer’s CEO wanted to distance his scientists from the overt politics that would have come with taking Operation Warp Speed money. The company didn’t take funding but entered into an agreement to supply the United States with…

Originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on July 15, 2020.

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.”

So exactly why do we want our kids to go back to school? Americans must answer this question honestly before we can figure out how, or if, to open K-12 schools this fall. And there are only two possible answers: the economic reason or the education reason.

The economic reason argues that unless our children go back to school, parents cannot return to work, and thus our economy cannot return to “normal.”

The education reason promotes our kids’ returning to school so that they may learn and develop…

Rapid COVID-19 self-tests could restore America to normalcy quickly, so why is the FDA blocking them?
Chirag Asaravala

April 26, 2020

It’s Sunday afternoon and I just took a COVID-19 antibody test, at home, and obtained results in less than 15 minutes. I’m not symptomatic but having worked in South Korea last year and in Milan this February I had a lingering curiosity whether I was exposed.

While I cannot divulge how I obtained the test, because, according to current FDA regulations, such procurement is illegal, I can advocate for expanding public access to the technology. The test kit comes…

Danville Boulevard in Danville, CA

Chirag Asaravala

For as long as I have lived in Alamo, CA, but especially so the last ten years, I have always noticed the ungodly amount of roadkill on Danville Boulevard. Deer and fawn, raccoon families, coyotes, even a turtle, and hundreds of squirrels — all reduced to red spaghetti-like smears on black asphalt. It’s a harrowing sight — death. The final agonized mouth agape is tragically common to all natural beings it seems.

The two lane road spans some 20 miles between Walnut Creek and Pleasanton, changing names in Dublin to San Ramon Valley Blvd. To the west is…

American biotech and pharmaceutical companies have massive supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment) that healthcare workers desperately need right now. Outside healthcare these industries are the largest consumer of gloves, masks, gowns, and laboratory supplies. As a consultant who works in these companies I can tell you from experience that it is quite common for these companies, particularly ones with manufacturing and laboratory operations, to use thousands of sets of PPE per day. The “bunny suits” as they are often called are used just once and discarded when entering clean rooms; and each clean room area often requires re-gowning to…

Making sense of how an immigrant form India became a mouthpiece for America’s right-wing.

Chirag Asaravala

July 3, 2019

Dinesh D’Souza is no longer a federal convict thanks to Trump’s pardon last year. Prosecuted under the previous administration, D’Souza was serving confinement in San Diego for illegal campaign contributions — a charge which he says was ‘selective prosecution’ in retaliation for his scathing books on Obama and democrats. What makes D’Souza interesting, however, it is not the pardon nor his hard-right, anti-liberal views — for those themselves are not unique — but rather that those views come from a non-Anglo immigrant.

It is no secret white conservatives have a fetish with minority outliers who…

Automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the new idioms of today’s tech economy and also the fear of tomorrow’s. Worry that ‘robots’ will someday displace human labor continues with fervor, despite someday having already arrived years ago. Robotic welders and other programmable machines displaced unionized men performing predictable physical work decades ago in many industries; and Uber and Amazon have already begun replacing many more sophisticated human functions with robotic technology — be it warehouse picking and packing to order delivery and driverless taxis. …

The image of U.S. soldiers blindfolding the massive stone head of Sadaam Hussein’s statue with an American flag before toppling it over in Baghdad’s Fidros Square is an iconic symbol of the Iraq war.

The larger-than-life dictator was erected to represent something specific, and bringing it down signified something altogether entirely different. Symbolism begets symbolism — yet why do Americans bristle at the suggestion of removing controversial historic statues, murals and figurines from our public spaces?

The SF Chronicle’s Carl Nolte even took us all tumbling down a slippery slope in his piece earlier this month in suggesting the ‘logical’…

This week a high school kid in Florida is being debased on social media for making light of cotton picking slaves. Last week, it was a Starbucks employee calling police on two men hanging out in the store. In San Luis Obispo, university administrators, students and parents are in a feud over a photo of a fraternity member in blackface.

If those are the worst examples of America’s “racism” today then we ought to celebrate our progress as a society; as those are quite benign and harmless examples compared to the overt and institutionalized racism underlying the Tuskegee experiments, the…

Poway is not a racist community. It is unfortunate this has to be said, but it does in order to have an honest conversation about why incidents like this past weekends synagogue shooting happen in seemingly good, wholesome, and small American cities. And an honest and insightful discussion is not one about about the statistical trivialities of the hate crime: how many were killed, who was the gunman, what type of weapons were used or where does this atrocity rank among others.

I grew up in the majority white San Diego County town of Poway in the ’70s and ’80s…

Chirag R. Asaravala

American Essayist | Contributing Opinion Writer SF Chronicle

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