Even as Covid-19 decimates the world economy and kills off thousands, some still try to cling to the notion that it’s all some kind of political plot, that it is exaggerated. It’s a ruse by those who want expanded government control or defeat President Trump.
People get sick. It happens. People die. It happens. The skeptics of course just hope that they are not among the victims I guess.
I find various camparisons about death totals or rates to be usually something like mixing apples and oranges, depending upon the point trying to be made.
But the reality is something terrible has hit us.
So I guess the most troublesome and deadly aspect of Covid-19 is that it seems to spread far easier than other viruses and of course as of yet we have no vaccine and no real known effective treatment either. And all that seems some ways off. Months at best, a year, two years?
One might get lost in the statistics as far as what is more deadly, the so-called common flu or other past viruses that resulted in epidemics or pandemics or this Covid-19.
The way I look at it is that if Covid-19 was no more dangerous than the common flu then the Republicans, who are in the majority in the federal government, would not even put up with the self-induced economic shut down and the sending of checks to common folks as well as help for business that is expanding the national debt into the stratosphere (although in reality they never worry about help for those who could actually survive on their own, big business).
President Trump, the demagogue, is using it both ways at once. He calls for re-opening the economy out of one side of his mouth but calls out one governor, from his own Republican Party, for doing just that, as a form of political payback for not making an appointment he (Trump) had pushed for. And of course he criticizes Democratic Party governors no matter what they do. Whatever seems to fit the moment. He also touts quack notions, such as, what? injecting Lysol or other such disinfectants into humans? Don’t try that at home, or anywhere as a matter of fact.
Trump introduced the bizarre and dangerous Lysol idea quite seriously but then after being shut down by professionals claimed he was just being “sarcastic”, whatever that meant. Saying off the wall things in a serious tone and then later recanting, is a tactic he often uses to muddy the waters. Meanwhile, the makers of Lysol warned against internal use by humans.
The only good thing out of all of this Covid-19 crisis may be that personal hygiene is improving. More hand washing and covering of the face, particularly when sneezing or coughing (and as it is now, when in public or close contact).
But I do not see how the American economy (and the world economy) can withstand all of this for much longer.
On the other hand, the nice part of all of this, a side effect, is the mass reduction in air pollution, primarily from far less automobiles out on the road. Still trucks out there, although perhaps not as many. Freight over all is taking a hit due to the dramatic fall off in the economy. Unemployment is on par with the Great Depression I think. Some say it goes beyond the official numbers (which is usually the case).
Myself, I have been out on the roadways in the semi I drive but I understand a lot of people have actually gone back to walking around their neighborhoods and enjoying the fresh air, even in Los Angeles, where the automobile world or car life as we have come to know it really took off.
But when things open up again, maybe all or most of that will disappear. We are ingrained in our ways and we have to make money.
So after spending most of the past several weeks in my truck I faced the stark reality of this new world when I went to Safeway, thinking I was going to get something at the deli for lunch and maybe pick up some supplies. I was actually just planning to zip back to my truck at the terminal. But there was this long line outside. Folks are being forced to social distance — they don’t want too many in the store at once. I have a theory on that, I’ll get back to shortly. So I decided to give my truck load to someone else (with permission from my boss of course) and get some things done, such as seeing about getting my cell phone that is not charging well fixed or replaced. While I have never had any major trouble that I can recall with my phone (or phones) I have gone to the AT&T store in the past for assistance on something. They were always real helpful. I did have to take a number so to speak but I found the reps super helpful for the most part. In the past that is. Not now. I could not go into the store. There was a temporary umbrella-covered station out front with masked representatives. All I got from them was a telephone number and the fact that the insurance I had paid so much on over all this time was basically worthless to me. The lady suggested I could go to the separate private fixit store next door. So I did (I have a caveat of sorts to this further down).
So my theory, cynical I know, is that in both instances, Safeway (and all such stores) and AT&T, are basically, or at least to some degree, using Covid-19 to boost sales or profits. In the case of Safeway, I mean if you have to stand in line to get groceries, you are going to tend to buy more than you usually might for that investment in time. In the case of the phone store, I think the cell provider is using the pandemic in part essentially do away with customer service and raise profit by simply selling new phones. They were going that way anyhow I think, and this just helps it along. I understand that younger folks pretty much just buy a new phone rather frequently. I’m thinking of buying a slightly cheaper model just to use it as a backup. In my business it is an essential tool I could not do without. Most people are in that boat nowadays I realize.
I have not even posted this yet but I want to update it: I did contact AT&T by phone and ordered a new cell phone (as a backup and kind of personal line). I found the representative to be most helpful. I was assured that once I got the new device there would be instructions on how to get it into service and that help was only a phone call away (on another phone of course). If that works out it will actually be easier than going to their store and waiting for a rep — they are always busy with another customer — and hoping I get one who knows his or her business (most do I think). You understand by reading this I am not tech savvy (but I have learned a lot this past decade or so).
During this time I have been getting the drift from sources such as the Wall Street Journal (opinion writers) that an attitude among some (how many I do not have an idea) is that we need to go back to work and realize that the strong survive and the weak die, that is the way of life. Sounds or looks harsh at first glance. But then again, are we just to sit down and give up as life as we know it disappears?
While I come from a family that is not a huggy, squeezy, kissie type, I like human contact of some manner. I have visited Spain six times and always love their attitude or culture of close human contact. It’s really part of being human I think (a matter of degree maybe). Yes, I realize, Spain has been hit hard with Covid-19 (and all that closeness may be a major factor).
And then of course closeness is also necessary for the survival of the species, but I was not really referring to that.
And finally, what I cannot understand, is why our federal government, most pointedly the Trump administration itself, since coming reluctantly to the realization that we are in a crisis we have never faced before, has not faced it in the manner as I read and am told was done in World War II. This war against the Covid-19 virus is every bit as critical as was the conventional war against the axis powers in the 1940s. There should have been or should even now be a no-holds-barred direction to our industry to produce the things that are needed to combat this enemy that is Covid-19, including test kits and protective gear, and most of all a vaccine and medicines for treatment. There of course has been some of that, but not in WWII style.
I’ve been seeing ads from companies promising all the good things they will have to offer once this is all over. It reminds me of the old magazines I used to see left over from World War II where there were ads about the cars and other consumer items that would be available when the war is over.
It is most distressing that the U.S. is failing itself and the world for its lack of leadership.
Trump whines that other nations do not appreciate our help and do not pay for it. At one time we had a different attitude. Yeah we paid the bill but we felt we got a lot in return by leading the world toward a way of life and government that was good for all. Plus we got to call the shots for the most part. But we, or at least the present leadership, has gotten selfish. We are paying for it.
This could be the last days of the once but now late great USA.
Or perhaps the electorate will wake up come November, unless Trump uses Covid-19 to somehow forestall the election.
We don’t need a perfect person in the White House. We need a decent person.
I realize that the main contender is facing a charge from at least one woman that he is not so decent. I know not whether there is anything to all that. Seems kind of murky. But there is nothing murky about the total indecency of the demagogue in the White House now. And I think many of his die-hard followers are finding out he is not the miracle man he claimed to be. It has always been a charade. Anyone could look like a good leader in a booming economy, one that was already improving from the failures of the first Master of Business degree president, Republican George W. Bush, failures in the economy and war. The economy steadily improved during the Obama years. But when a real crisis, Trump’s first real one, appeared, he was caught flat footed, and all his hot air and science denial has not helped. Thanks to dedicated medical experts and all the medical community we are surviving so far and may or, indeed, will whip this thing, despite the obstacle that is Trump.