I’ve watched some of the people in my neighborhood refuse to wear masks or observe social distancing. They’re heedless and unthinking; if young, they believe themselves invincible, without a care about what their recklessness could do to them and the rest of us. Freedom!
Overall, after some initial missteps, here in New York State we’ve had excellent results from self-isolating, mask wearing and the other precautions the state and our communities have ordered. State and local leadership has done a decent job and after weeks of illness, our disease and death rates now are very low. Our medical and emergency professionals have been exceptional. Every worker who has braved hazards to preserve essential services should be valued, applauded and at all times protected.
So now that we’ve achieved some stability around here, I’m worried, as are many others, that the disease might ramp up again in these parts—not just because we have our own share of yahoos who won’t take precautions but because the levels now are skyrocketing out of control across the south and west, faster and further than anticipated. On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted we could soon have as many as 100,000 new cases a day.
Most of the current most highly infected are red states which reopened too soon, sycophantically following the lead of our Dissembler-in-Chief, Donald Trump, a man who places his reelection above the nation’s health and safety, as well as the governors and legislators who fell into lockstep behind him—even going so far, in such states as Florida and Texas, as to manipulate or attempt to conceal data.
So now there are 128,000 US dead, 2.64 million confirmed cases that we know of, and 45.5 million unemployed, victims not just of a virus but of ineptitude, duplicity and ideology. Herein lies a horror tale, perhaps best described by columnist Paul Krugman at The New York Times. “The question… isn’t why ‘America’ has failed to deal effectively with the pandemic, he writes. “It’s why the G.O.P. has in effect allied itself with the coronavirus…
… [T]hey pushed for premature reopening because they wanted things to return to what they seemed to be back in February. Indeed, just a few days ago the same Trump officials who initially assured us that Covid-19 was no big deal were out there dismissing the risks of a second wave.
Krugman further suggests that the Republican party regards COVID as they do climate change: “… it doesn’t want you to fear impersonal threats that require an effective policy response, not to mention inconveniences like wearing face masks; it wants you to be afraid of people you can hate — people of a different race or supercilious liberals.
So instead of dealing with Covid-19, Republican leaders and right-wing media figures have tried to make the pandemic into the kind of threat they want to talk about. It’s ‘kung flu,’ foisted on us by villainous Chinese. Or it’s a hoax perpetrated by the ‘medical deep state,’ which is just looking for a way to hurt Trump.