Donald McNeil was on Rachel Maddow via Skype. I didn’t like what he had to say. At first, I was very frightened.
New York State more than doubled confirmed cases over one calendar day, from 800+ to 1,800+, and that’s fucking scary. Seven states have done nothing to restrict the sizes of gatherings, closing bars, restaurants or anything else. Schools are open except for a few which closed on their own. This is the equivalent of courting horror. “They’re asking for it,” McNeil said.
There are serious problems in the country. One lies in medical testing and protective equipment. Reports of HR personnel in hospitals using odds and ends to construct face shields are deeply disturbing. Gloves, gowns and masks as well as caps and shoe covers are in damnably short supply.
We’re not only short on testing supplies, we’re dangerously short on the extra large Q-tips for the sampling. The reason cases in New York doubled was testing supplies became available. But that’s one state. As Trump mockingly praised West Virginia for not having any confirmed cases, the first case was being confirmed.
What the hell happened?
First of all, cooperation between the administration and Cuomo resulted in more testing supplies for New York. The more people tested, the more people will test positive. Those are not new cases. They are existing cases that we didn’t know about; now we do.
We may, very quickly, within a few weeks, be at a point where hospitals can’t treat everyone who’s most symptomatic. Just like Italy. And no use, don’t try, to point out that Italy is not the United States. I’m aware of that. But Italy is in fact a preview of what can happen here. And they report 300 deaths per day. Trump wasted time just as China did. That fated Americans to die. For him to stand up now and praise himself is a travesty.
The problem here is that people testing positive are not being quarantined. Not if they aren’t very sick. They’re going home on the hope that they can be trusted to self quarantine. Which not everyone will do. And they infect spouses or other family who, while asymptomatic, interact with others. It’s how the virus spreads.
Here, there’s another consideration. Layoffs, restaurant and movie theater closings, closed-space malls shut down, and more. Mass transit is taking a huge hit. Busses in my county are using the more sparse weekend schedule. Airlines are in serious danger. We are in the midst of the worst economic crisis most of us have ever seen. Lost wages and revenues are approaching critical levels. Some who don’t get sick or who do and recover will find the places they worked are never going to reopen. Usually small businesses, but certainly not limited to that. Some factory and tech jobs will be cut permanently. We don’t know the extent yet; we do know that unemployment benefits are a slow go. Many state offices that handle that are closed. Being as it is, most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Will landlords give them a break? Will there be foreclosures? Will people be able to run their utilities? Will they be able to buy food? These are things we have to ask and get concrete answers to. The answers are not coming fast enough.
WHAT SET THE STAGE FOR THIS?
Trump gutted CDC way back. He left it that way. That was the first key element to this developing situation. The second was a delay in Trump even acknowledging the virus existed. Now, ironically, Trump and even Fox are basically admitting that they were dishonest because they echoed the word “hoax” but now consider it very real. Note that they refuse to admit their lies; they merely acknowledge the virus as if they were on top of it all along, save for the fact that the Chinese withheld the facts about the initial outbreak. Trump calls it the “China Virus” and claims not to be racist.
We have in the White House a president who, by means of diminished capacity, mental health issues and a great deal of ignorance, cannot lead us through this terrible crisis.
At his daily press conference on Wednesday, Trump was asked a question. He answered with a “95 percent” favorable to himself and referred to democratic front runner Biden as “sleepy Joe” because it’s always about how he’s so great. That’s what I’d call a moron. We have no leader. This is a peek at anarchy. You look too closely, it’ll scare the hell out of you.
Containment is key. You don’t need a competent president to practice it. If you stay home, you lessen your risk and the risk to others should you get coronavirus. You don’t want to be responsible for making someone else sick. They could die, and maybe you won’t know, but ask yourself and your higher power what’s the right thing to do here?
For one thing you can’t be convinced that you’re about to be laid out under some fresh sod. Hell yes, people are gonna die. Yes, yes, fucking yes. That doesn’t mean you. Even if you get infected, no one rule says you’re going to die.
The myths surrounding the virus are really painful once I fall for one and look further, especially after posting something, and then find I passed on some bullshit. That really hurts me. Like this post; it is heavily edited. It originally contained references to anarchy, and we’re not there yet, but Donald Trump’s no leader. He claims wrongly that it should have been stopped in China right after claiming it took the world by surprise. Then he said something remarkably Trump-like that I find so over the top that even for him it’s disgusting. He plugged himself. “People say no other president has been able to do what I’ve done.” That was in his Thursday press conference. And that conference really turned into typically Trumpian faire; he only lasted so long before once again berating the press, fake news, and pointing to two reporters whom he said were “too close each other”, and he said, “you two should leave right now, in fact, I don’t even like you, so maybe I’ve come up with a good place to start.”
Holy shit! He is a sick man. He could have used a prime opportunity to make himself presidential, or appear to be, and as usual, didn’t have it in him to do it. His rhetoric turned into worse than his usual drek for the press updates. That doesn’t make me feel very hopeful.
But I do have hope.
He stutters from the podium and lies his ass off. If it weren’t for people around him actually defying his bullshit orders and doing their best we would be in a state of anarchy. If it weren’t for state governors and city mayors combining their resources and knowledge, we would be in a state of anarchy right now.
Cuomo has been popular and his press conferences and the extraordinary wisdom he has and measures he’s taken, his calm demeanor and reassuring words have a powerful mojo. You really should see what he says and how he says it. The fact is, things look grim. But he doesn’t pretend that this situation isn’t bad. Seriously bad. He simply tells the truth and warns that fear is even more dangerous than this pandemic. Fear causes the passing on of false information, which in turn energizes and spreads more fear.
I hope you all know by now that touching a box shipped from China isn’t going to make you sick. I hope you know that drinking Corona beer won’t give you coronavirus. I hope you’ve found that rumours of eating “Chinese food” isn’t going to transmit the coronavirus. The myths should by now be dispelled. Unfortunately, when Fox News goes free basic cable, as it has done, it has a larger audience to reach, and just because they now acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic, it does not mean you’ll get the truth from it. I wager you won’t. Geraldo I cannot listen to. If that bastard were any more stupid he wouldn’t even qualify for Fox News. That stunt he pulled is unforgettable, even in Geraldo legend. Hold your breath ten seconds, if you can. If you do, you’re not infected. What bullshit. He got it from Facebook, and of all things, it’s a meme. Check the story out on Snopes, and always use as many fact check sites as you can before believing something that morons tell you.
Look, I’m on your side. We should be putting aside our many differences to combat the pandemic. We should respect personal space. Wash hands. Most of all say hello to people, and say something encouraging or otherwise cheerful. I saw a couple on the footpath the other day. I stepped well into the grass to let them by, and I said, “Hi, folks, I hope you’re well.”
Support is not just verbal. Elderly people may need things but are too scared or too handicapped to get everything they need. Offer to pick up things from the store. Use gloves and hand sanitizer. Talk outside from a distance, because this is a bad time to be alone. We need human contact. It’s how we’re made. Keeping safe distances, you can still engage in conversation and feel better quickly; I spend a lot of time alone, and it’s good for me at times, but not at others. And you never know how you can affect someone else by listening, asking questions so they know you’re really interested and that you care. But whatever you do, keep it safe. The goal is to stop creating vectors for the spread of COVID-19.
Most of all, maintain your faith and have as positive an attitude as you can. It’s infectious, and that’s a good thing. We’ll talk again tomorrow. Til then, stay well.