Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Coronavirus’ Category

I HAVE NO WORDS, GROCERS TO FIGHT A PANDEMIC?

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OK, I had a Covid-19 post already written. Then, Friday the 13th, Trump held a press conference where he announced a national emergency over Covid-19, the novel coronavirus pandemic that is spreading around the world. I’m still in shock over his event. Trump trotted out his crack team of … grocers … who are going to be our goto guys for fighting Covid-19. Not experts in public health or pandemics, no, those weren’t even consulted in the planning for this! And by grocers, I mean the heads of giant health care profiteers like Walgreens. People whose entire agenda is to make money from sick people. Wait, what? When your house is on fire, one sends in fire-fighters, not anyone else. Right?

And after all these guys gave a little rahrah speech for Trump, Pence gave a speech extolling Trump’s response to Covid-19 and claiming everything was all peachy, which was so divorced from reality that I had to stop listening. I’m having a real hard time processing this, Trump seems to have finally become aware that Covid-19 is real, not a hoax as he was claiming at first, but he thinks businessmen are the people to fight this? This is surreal, did I dream this, did I die this afternoon and this is a dying fever dream?

So yeah, crisis of the decade, if not my life, is upon us. We’re in a really interesting moment in history, gonna be wild. Like when Grant was approaching Richmond or Panzers were rolling over France. Surprize! Reality might very well change in big ways in the next few months. I’m gonna keep  blogging about it, because my whole life has been devoted to “What the hell is going on here?” And right now, “here” is overwhelming whatever comfortable fantasies Americans live under. Arguably we’re the most sheltered and coddled national population on Earth, so the Covid-19 shutdown is going to be an ugly shock to most Americans.

I hoped Trump would make it through his term without having to deal with something like this, most of the damage he’s done can at least potentially be rolled back. Ain’t no fixing this, a global crisis, and the guy in the White House is a failed businessman, skilled grifter, habitual liar, and reality show star. Not the skill set for dealing with a pandemic. As today’s performance showed. :( Convince me otherwise.

One last thought, Trump and Pence made a big deal about how their border closures made things so much better. And on one level, true enough, the fewer infected people arriving, the better. However, and it’s a huge however, that was only part of the battle. There was no question that Covid-19 was going to arrive in the US, so border restrictions just bought us time to deal with it when it got here. And that’s where Trump dropped the ball. They did nothing but pretend it was no big deal. And here we are, it’s spreading rapidly in the US, and we don’t even have a clue how much because zero preparation was made for widespread testing and containment procedures.

I had more, but most of it is rapidly being overtaken by events. The crisis of a generation is upon us, and the Trump administration isn’t handling it well. So barring a miracle, things are gonna get real ugly over the next few months. I hope and pray I’m wrong, time will tell I suppose.

Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. Comments appreciated, damned if I know what to make of all this. God bless.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A Lewis Carrol illustration, The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits by Lewis Carroll, just a random image of something crazy, like today’s Trump national emergency declaration. Credit: Henry Holiday, This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.)

Written by unitedcats

March 13, 2020 at 7:32 pm

IT BEGINS

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I went to my local Dollar General store today, and was saddened but not surprised that people were buying cartloads of staples, and store shelves were already empty. And I live in rural Iowa, so I can only assume it’s happening elsewhere. Not too surprising, the World Health Organization today declared that Covid-19 is officially a pandemic. Cases outside China increased thirteen fold in the past two weeks, and it has spread to at least 114 countries. Here in the USA, apparently the Trump administration is taking the situation so seriously that they are sticking to their proposal to slash funds for the CDC and the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund. He honestly seems more concerned with salvaging the stock market. He’s also ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, which is hampering their ability to do their jobs. Controlling the narrative and protecting his image is more important than protecting Americans apparently. You can’t make this shit up, the mind, already boggled, careers uncontrollably.

So, ok, here’s a link about why it is so important to slow down Covid-19’s spread by social distancing and other measures. Basically, the slower it spreads, the less stress on the health care system. And the less stress on the health care system, the more people will be treated and survived. If it spreads rapidly, the system gets overwhelmed, and patients die in the hallways. Read it here: Curve mitigation. Hoping Trump’s upcoming address focuses on this.

And here’s a good article about why it is so important for infected people to isolate themselves. Too much has been made about “It’s no big deal, most people will have mild symptoms.” Yes, yes they will. But if they don’t isolate themselves, they will give Covid-19 to people who will die. Anyone with Covid-19 is a Typhoid Mary, this cannot be emphasized too much, and they need to self isolate. Read it here: Stop killing people. And here’s another article about why it’s so important to take drastic steps now.

In other words, this is a global emergency, and immediate and decisive action should be taken by Trump to limit Covid-19’s spread. We can’t prevent it, but we can minimize the harm. Sadly a line of logic that Trump in his back and white thinking seems incapable of. We’ll see, I’m going to listen to his Covid-19 message in 45 minutes, and I can only hope he snaps out of his shit. I expect mealy mouthed crap downplaying the crisis, bragging about how well he is handling it, and partisan attacks thrown in for good measure. It will be all about Trump, not protecting America. I hope I’m wrong.

<Trump’s Covid-19 address>

Oh boy, that was … interesting. Here was my tweet after watching Trump’s first public statement from the Oval Office:

First impression of Trump’s Coronavirus statement: 80% lies, bragging, or irrelevant. 20% on point. Could of been worse.

Yeah, I was not terribly impressed, though not as horrified as I could have been. Watch/read Trump’s message here. I took notes.

A lot of bragging about how great our response has been and how the US is the best prepared nation in the world for facing this pandemic. Pure unadulterated BS. We are terribly unprepared for all sorts of reasons, likely the least prepared developed country. He announced closing flights from Europe; um, dude, Covid-19 is already here. That’s called closing the barn door after the cows are gone. There was also kind of a xenophobic tone to his characterizations of this “foreign” virus, but whatevs. That’s Trump for you.

He announced measures to limit the economic hit to small businesses and workers. Etc. All good I guess, but being the cynical SOB I am, one has to wonder where the money for this will come from. Somehow I doubt the Pentagon or fossil fuel subsidies will take a hit. There was also his schtick about how the economy is the best it’s ever been, which is always scary. No, it’s not, so he either really believes that, or is lying. Neither is reassuring. This was all kind of the irrelevant part, since for most of us, “Is granny going to survive this?” is the more pressing concern.

And Trump did stress the importance of hand washing and social distancing. He’s right there, can’t argue that. I don’t think it went far enough though, he didn’t cancel any rallies or take other measures to limit Covid-19’s spread inside the US. Basically his whole speech could be summed up as: “We got this, just wash your hands.” I think the country needs to take drastic steps to stop the spread of Covid-19, that’s the only thing that will minimize the death toll.

Trump didn’t look good either, though at least his message was blessedly brief. Being president is a stressful job at the best of times, and this is the worst of times. 1918 all over again. Some of the people I know are likely to die before this is over. My own chances aren’t the greatest. We need to learn from history, and sadly history teaches us that people are in denial until too late. A topic for a blog post itself.

Stay safe everyone, protect your elders.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image:  Empty store shelves. Credit: Public domain image obtained from Snappygoat.)

Written by unitedcats

March 11, 2020 at 7:48 pm

WORLD WAR V

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I’m paraphrasing here, but this is it folks. World War V. A pandemic in all but name. A novel coronavirus, Covid-19, is at war with the human race. A virus humans have never faced before, our immune systems are, well, more or less defenceless. A virus that  doesn’t give a shit about one’s ideology, religion, race, or political party. It doesn’t give a shit about anything but finding more hosts and passing itself on. And it’s winning. This. Is. Really. Happening.

We are facing a planetary emergency, and a lot of people aren’t getting it. Making partisan fun still. All of Italy is shut down trying to stop this thing, and Italy has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Yet still seeing Americans saying things like:

“Maybe it’s worth the economy crashing and burning and my losing my retirement if Trump loses 2020.”

No, no it’s not. Especially not if hundreds of thousands of Americans die. We’re all on this boat together, no matter how much we may loath the captain.

I’m also still hearing the flu analogy. Along the lines of, look how many people the flu kills every year, and no one panics about it. Just a part of life. Yes, yes it is. And no, we don’t panic about it. We do however fight it tooth and nail, expending huge resources every year keeping it in check. It’s a terrible thing, especially to those who lose friends and loved ones to it. So a new “flu” is nothing to worry about? That’s the logic of a sociopath, a new “flu” would be a terrible thing, not something to just accept as part of life. No one is suggesting panic. Yes, this might bring down Trump. His administration is flailing. That’s nothing to be happy about! Our leader failed us and hundreds of thousands died! Woohoo! Wait, what? 

Trump’s retweeted the image above. As Trump sees himself, calm leader, in charge. Of course the implication is he’s serene about getting re-elected, but hey, a vision of Trump being a calm leader in a crisis, one can only hope. For example, if he now cancelled all his campaign rallies to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and sequestered himself in the White House to deal with the crisis, I would be impressed. A lot of people would. I’ve never had much hope in Trump, but I don’t want him to fail! This is your Waterloo Mr trump, only you get to decide if you’re Wellington or Napoleon.

That being said, one has to wonder what he was thinking tweeting about himself as Nero fiddling while Rome burns. (Yes, the bottom text line is an Alt-Right sentiment, but I digress.) Nero fiddling while Rome burned was a bad thing, not some calm leader in the face of crisis. Is Trump that ignorant of history … or of how to use Google? Or did he really mean he is going to party while Covid-19 reaps its death tax? Really? And has anyone explained to him what happened to Nero, the Caesar who allegedly partied while the city of Rome burned? He grew so unpopular because of his policies that even his supporters spurned him, and his attempts to flee failed because his guards refused orders to take him to safety saying: “Is it so dreadful a thing then to die?” (A quote from Classical Roman literature. Who knew Romans were the first Klingons?) Then his guards fled, and Nero killed himself to avoid being torn to bits by a mob.

So you’re really comparing yourself to Nero Mr. Trump? Oh well. When Trump was running for POTUS I half jokingly told peeps if he wins I will apply for a position in his administration. I even considered it after the election, but realized it was a long shot at best. And even if I did, I’m not much of a yes-man, so sooner or later (but probably sooner) I would have spoken my mind and said something “disloyal,” and that would have been that. Why yes, I worked in corporate America once. If I had ended up in the Trump administration, and somehow was still there, this would be my moment of truth. Step up to the plate Mr. Trump, stop obsessing on the Dems, partisan politics, or the election. Focus on Covid-19, this is the threat facing America that dwarfs other threats.

Or maybe the tweet is right. Nothing can stop what’s coming. Covid-19 isn’t going to go away by itself. Even if a country does manage to halt its spread, they can’t stay in their homes forever. And as long as Covid-19 is out there, it will find its way back. So all nations can hope to do is slow its spread enough that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed, and eventually enough of the population will have survived it to make containment possible. Hopefully aided by a vaccine at some point. This all assumes that people who survive a bout of Covid-19 are for the most part immune to reinfection. That’s the likely case. Knock on wood.

To conclude, it’s real folks. That’s the irony Trump missed in his quote, Covid-19 is coming, and nothing can stop it. If you’re over 60 you should especially hunker down, that’s from the freakin CDC. Convince me otherwise, I’d love to be wrong on this one.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Trump tweet.  Credit: Unknown, but my current understanding is Trump’s Twitter channel is an official US government publication, and thus Public Domain for most purposes. Including this blog. Quote: Used with permission.)

Written by unitedcats

March 10, 2020 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Coronavirus, Trump

REALITY VS SPIN

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The main reason I find the Covid-19 outbreak so compelling is that it transcends spin. What do I mean by that? A bit of background. The mainstream media in the US is infotainment, a product designed for a targeted demographic. Fox News blazed the trail, but all the rest have followed suit. So now when people watch the mainstream news, congruence with reality is a coincidence. Yes, it’s more nuanced than that, and there’s a whole spectrum of incongruity with reality, but for the most part what people see on Fox or MSNBC can be safely believed without any risk of their daily reality contradicting it. Covid-19 is rapidly going past that, people will notice empty store shelves and dead friends and relatives. Reality bats last. Could get interesting in other words. And not the good kind of interesting.

Hell, it already is. I’m ready. I ordered an electron microscope on Amazon. That way if a virus with my name on it shows up, I have a chance of spotting it. Does that qualify as a dad joke? Does it even qualify as a joke? I’m going to depend on morbid humour to get through this. That, and a pile of soap and alcohol. Rubbing alcohol, for sterilizing surfaces. Just in case that needed clarification. In any event, some random weird reactions followed by a summary of sorts. The Covid-19 files:

In expected news, from high to low special interests are trying to cash in on this.  A banking industry group has called for the markets to be deregulated in order to fight the Covid-19 epidemic. How exactly is giving the banks what they want to turn Wall Street into an even more wild west fixed gambling casino for the rich isn’t really explained. Jeremy Krass of the University of Michigan School of Business condemned  the recommendations as incoherent and “transparently opportunistic.”  Ain’t unfettered capitalism grand? Unfettered by even a shred of human decency and ethics in this case.

It gets worse. Rick Santelli suggested maybe we should just get it over with and give everyone in the country Covid-19 to spare the economy. He’s the guy who started the Tea Party movement, a movement in search of a mission. He later apologized and said his remarks were insensitive and inappropriate. They were also shockingly stupid Mr Santelli. First of all, worst case scenario only 40-70% of the population will get the virus, I guess he thinks people will feel left out if they don’t get Covid-19? Secondly, millions would die and one out of five would require hospitalisation. How, exactly, is that going to spare the economy? Did he just invest in coffin manufacturing company stock? Sadly, pretty sure this won’t be the last blast of stupid about Covid-19. Hell, here’s a guy denying Covid-19 exists. (Sorry it’s on a tendiciously liberal site, but the facts seem real.)

On the plus side, Coronavirus porn is now a thing. Yes, it’s real. Humans are just shaved monkeys, and anyone who has visited a monkey house knows what goes on there. When they are not throwing excrement at visitors. So no surprise. Granted I don’t see the appeal, but the link apparently has links to NSFW coronavirus porn for those so inclined. I’ll stick to my mermaid smurf porn, I’m not some sort of weirdo thank you.

Still hearing people downplay Covid-19 by comparing it to the annual flu. It’s a deceptive comparison. Yes, the annual flu kills enormous numbers of people compared to Covid-19, and we aren’t freaking out about the flu? So Covid-19 is no big deal, right? Well, wrong. Yes, as it now stands, the flu is worse. However, if Covid-19 infects as many people as the flu does, or even a significant fraction of that, it will be vastly worse than the flu. It will kill and seriously sicken vastly more people than the flu does. That’s what the big deal is, public health officials desperately want to prevent Covid-19 from becoming as ubiquitous as the flu. And any rational person should be able to understand that.

So, where are we today? Up to about 100,000 confirmed cases in over 80 countries. It’s doubled in about three weeks. Italy has quarantined 16 million people. It’s in numerous states in the US, likely all of them by now. I’m guessing the next three weeks is the key. If it doubles again, or less, might still be under control. If it’s more than doubled, we’re in deep le doo doo deep. We would be talking millions of cases by summer, with enormous economic costs as parts of the globe shut down to try and prevent it spreading further and faster.

Here in the US, still spreading, Trump still getting mixed reviews on his performance. He’s said a number of, well, factually challenged things. Suggesting people sickened by Covid-19 should just go to work. Basically still downplaying it, still making it all very partisan. He’s basically BSing his way through it, and because he and his core followers believe in his BS, they still think he’s great. The man actually believes he’s this brilliant individual, and so do his followers. That won’t help in the response to Covid-19, so Trump might well turn into the Herbert Hoover of his day. He was the Republican president who had the misfortune of having the stock market crash and onset of the Great Depression during his time in office.

Basically the Covid-19 epidemic is real, and no amount of dancing and prancing and finger pointing on Trump’s part will change that. As one expert said: “The spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the US could push the healthcare system to its limits. In a February webinar presentation hosted by the American Hospital Association, an expert laid out “best guess” estimates about how many Americans could be impacted. He projected that there could be as many as 96 million cases in the US, 4.8 million hospitalizations, and 480,000 deaths associated with the novel coronavirus.”

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook meme. Credit: Unknown, used without permission. I will happily attribute or remove it should the copyright holder come to light.)

Written by unitedcats

March 8, 2020 at 4:51 pm

DARK DAYS

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Number three abortive Covid-19 post. I notice it’s not making a huge amount of news, I think some attempt is being made to avoid panic. A good thing, panic rarely helps. As the CDC says, keep calm and wash your hands. At this point, still thinking Covid-19 is the cold from hell. The 1918 flu of our time. 40-70% of the world’s population will catch it, millions will die. The US will be particularly hard hit because of the dismal state of our public health care system, among other factors I previously blogged about.

Economic disruption is almost a certainty at this point. Just the closing of factories in China is going to result in empty store shelves here. Those of us who remember the 1973 gas crisis know what it will be like. Except there will be shortages of all sorts of things, not just gas. A little preparation now goes a long ways, I’m stocking up on items I know I will use eventually no matter what.

Going after Trump a waste of time, he’s made things worse and his response to this crisis is questionable, but the USA’s horrific public health system long preceded Trump. Turns out a health care system that prioritizes corporate profit over public health is poorly equipped to cope with a pandemic. Who would have guessed? I actually kinda feel sorry for Trump, he actually believes he’s this smart and competent leader. And now that he’s facing a real crisis, not an imaginary crisis or a crisis of his own making, he’s out of his depth. He’s like this guy, it’s painful to watch.

Watch for scammers. Facebook and Amazon have already pulled millions of ads for products claiming they will cure or prevent Covid-19, or price gouging on things like masks. (Masks are of little value anywise, they can certainly help prevent sick people from spreading disease, but they are of little use in protecting from it.) It goes without saying that getting Covid-19 advice from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow or Jim Bakker is a bad idea. Hoping and praying are of zero medical benefit. Here’s the CDC guide for preparing for it, real advice from real experts. Yeah, I’m old fashioned that way.

Some of the rumours flying are ridiculous. Read a post by a guy claiming Covid-19 reached the US by way of Chinese balloon bombs, modelled after the Japanese balloon bombs of WW2. Yes, that’s what comes from mixing poor logic, a limited understanding of history, and racism. There’s so many things wrong with the idea I don’t even know where to start. And as expected, since Covid-19 originated in China, racists are crawling out from under their rocks. Hopefully most people have more sense, but people often react badly to scary times.

Sorry about the brevity of this post. I have reached the age where various parts of my body are saying: “You thought that was bad? Watch this!” This being Bursitis. Sigh. Have a great week everyone. Wash your hands! Comments and shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: CDC flyer, inspired by this. Credit: CDC, used legally under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 2, 2020 at 12:58 pm

TRUMP, COVID-19, AND PERFORMANCE ART

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This may be the beginnings of the 1918 Flu epidemic of our time, so what else is there to write about? I’ve lived through two “big events” in my life, for want of a better word. I lived in Berkeley when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, and 9/11, the “Pearl Harbor” of my life. The first was a local disaster, the second a national disaster. There was stuff during the 60s, the JFK and MLK assassinations, but I was a kid and insulated from it. This could be number three, a global disaster this time. I hope not, but here we are.

At this point, the end of February 2020, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to two dozen plus countries, some of which don’t have the medical infrastructure to cope with an epidemic. Covid-19 appears to be less lethal than the 1918 global flu pandemic, but an order of magnitude more lethal than the annual flu season. If it becomes a pandemic, millions may well die. For the record, an epidemic is a contagious disease that affects a local region. A pandemic is an infectious disease that spreads worldwide. There have been four pandemics the past century:

(Credit: CDC. Used legally.)

The dividing line between epidemic and pandemic is a bit fuzzy, but at this juncture no one is calling Covid-19 a pandemic, but it sure seems headed that way. The ugly truth is that diseases jump from animals to humans fairly regularly, and diseases can mutate, so sooner or later another pandemic was inevitable. This is why sensible countries prepare for them. China  learned a lot from the SARS epidemic nearly 20 years ago, and their response to this one has been pretty massive. That China still couldn’t contain Covid-19 bodes ill for the world.

In America, Wednesday night Trump held a press conference to talk about Covid-19. It was not reassuring. I mean, he tried, at least he didn’t encourage panic. He basically said Covid-19 may not get here, and that the USA was super prepared for it. He suggested hand washing, never a bad idea. He randomly bragged about questionable achievments, saying his Muslim ban was part of preparations for this. He claimed the Stock Market collapsing was because of the Democratic debate. I’d say he can’t be serious, but I think he is. He pooh poohed the fact that he had cut funds and fired all sorts of public health officials, saying we can just hire good ones back. Which is the equivalent of saying “We don’t need an army, if we need one we’ll just hire a bunch of people.” It doesn’t work that way, dealing with natural disasters is 90% preparation, so bragging about winging it was pretty weird. And then he appointed Vice President Pence as the Coronavirus coordinator, a science denying ideological extremist with a record of making an epidemic worse. Did I mention I was not reassured? So far looks like Trump is going to try and spin and BS his way through this. We’ll see, I wish Trump resounding success in dealing with this crisis.

My current theory is that Trump really does think he’s this great leader and he’s on top of things. The fact that tens of millions of people wildly agree … doesn’t actually make it so. What he is doing is more akin to performance art than leadership. He’s like a pro-wrestler who thinks it’s all real. All well and good if all he has to do is pro wrestling. Wrestling is over, barring a miracle, Covid-19 is going to kill a lot of Americans during the next year. Hundreds of thousands is not out of the question. More Americans died of the flu in October of 1918 than died in all of America’s wars until then. It was a big deal, it might be happening again.

And beyond the virus, global economic disruption is a near certainty. Today (Thursday 27 February 2020) was the biggest one day stock market drop by one measure. Yikes. So, today’s reasonable speculation. Just like 2008, the economy takes a huge dump, especially the economy of the rich. I mean that’s what a dropping stock market means, the rich are losing money. Trump and the GOP will lose the election to some hopey-changey Democrat. And when said Democrat gets in office, just like Obama, they  make it their mission to make sure the rich get all their money back from the taxpayers. They will call his (or her) program ‘qualitative pleasing’ or some such. And when all is said and done the rich in America will be richer than ever, and the rest of us will be scraping by in a gig economy at best. <ducks>

Weird days. Odd writing about an unfolding event that might just kill me. I’ll be able to devote a blog to that. I hope. Have a great weekend everyone, stock up before the hoarders get there.

(Image: The Tower of Babel, painting. Inspired to post after watching Trump’s press conference. Credit: Pieter Bruegel the Elder  (1526/1530–1569))

Written by unitedcats

February 28, 2020 at 9:06 am

AMERICA, TRUMP, AND CORONAVIRUS … THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL

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Looks like Coronavirus is on its way to America, according to the CDC. Pondering this eventuality, I realize America in many ways is completely unprepared for a pandemic. Here are ten ways America is punching itself in the face when it comes to effectively responding to Coronavirus:

  1. Lack of access to health care. In the rest of the developed world, people that think they might have or might have been exposed to the Coronavirus have every incentive to seek health care immediately. Tens of millions of Americans have no access to health care except through emergency rooms, and even then it’s iffy. So simply not having access, and then fear of the costs incurred, will keep people from seeking treatment until it’s too late, or never. Works for all infectious diseases actually, why Americans want to share their public places with untreated sick people is a mystery to me.
  2. Demonizing law-abiding undocumented people. Guess what, the anti-immigrant hysteria Trump has engendered makes it far less likely that undocumented people will seek medical treatment. Treating law abiding undocumented people as criminal undesirables makes the illegal immigration problem much worse. Basically Trumo has turned undocumented people into a huge pool of potential Coronavirus spreaders.
  3. Sick leave policies. American companies have sick leave policies that are draconian compared to the rest of the civilized world, workers are often forced to work when sick, either by their management or they can’t afford unpaid sick leave. Not exactly conducive to fighting an epidemic.
  4. Codicil, businesses won’t want to close. Similar to number three, American corporations are going to be loathe to close factories and such, and they have the political pull to strongly resist such calls.
  5. Snake oil salesmen, legitimised! Not only is the so called ‘alternative medicine’ industry thriving in America, it’s made great strides in legitimizing itself. Sorry, snake oil is snake oil, drinking water (homeopathy) and sticking oneself with needles (acupuncture) won’t cure or treat Coronavirus. People will try though.
  6. Faith based medical deniers. Adults not seeking medical treatment is bad enough, but there are states where parents can legally deny their children medical treatment. And plenty of snake oil salesmen here too, Jim Bakker is already selling fake cures. Millions of Americans are likely to depend on God and prayers to fight Coronavirus. Didn’t work to fight the Black Death, won’t work now,
  7. Anti-vaxxers. Yes, the people who believe hand washing eliminated smallpox aren’t going to be cooperative in this epidemic. Even if a vaccine is developed in time, this is another huge pool of people who will avoid it. Hell, if anything they will have Coronavirus parties to deliberately expose their kids.
  8. Media as infotainment. The mainstream media in the USA is totally beholden to corporate  and political interests. These interests are going to protect themselves at all costs, public welfare be damned.
  9. No accountability. Washington is a bizarre city where no matter how badly people screw up, no one is accountable. The invasion of Iraq is the perfect example. An invasion that was supposed to prevent a WMD attack on the US, trigger a democratic revolution in the Middle East, and cost next to nothing in lives and treasure. Instead it proved to be a disaster of epic proportions … and the WMD threat turned out to be non-existent. Yet the architects of this catastrophe are still respected pundits and politicians. When a nation’s leaders aren’t accountable for failure, they have no incentive to not fail. Nor can they learn from their mistakes.
  10. Americans just don’t give a damn about the common good. Literally, a huge percentage of Americans see everything as a partisan battleground, and the losers are such because they subscribe to the wrong ideology. Horace Greely on steroids. Not a good mindset for dealing with a pandemic. Coronavirus is as likely to tear us apart as it is to unite us.

My first draft of this list was much simpler. 1. Trump is president. 2. Trump is president. Etc. Mr Trump and much of his base believe in simplistic solutions to complex problems. History has shown quite clearly the folly of this sort of thinking, if simple black and white solutions worked, Earth would be a paradise. There’s every reason to believe the Trump administration’s response to Coronavirus will be chaotic to incompetant. Hell, the man fired the national pandemic response team, hasn’t replaced them. And of writing this, hasn’t even appointed someone to coordinate America’s response to Coronavirus.

This is the first real domestic crisis Trump has faced, second if we count the hurricane that smashed Puerto Rico. Yeah, his response to that was less than stellar. I suspect he will spend his time trying to prop the stock market up and controlling the narrative. Alas, sharpies and lies aren’t going to cut it here Mr. Trump. I hope the virus is contained and we don’t have to deal with it in the US. That’s pretty unlikely at this point. If Coronavirus does hit us big time, I hope I’m wrong about Trump and this crisis brings him out as a national leader leading the country and all Americans through difficult times.

A man can dream. Please share.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Triumph of Death.  Credit: Pieter Bruegel the Elder  (1526/1530–1569) As the artist has been dead for centuries. The image is Public Domain under US and other copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 25, 2020 at 7:14 pm