19 April 2020

testing, and social distancing

Sometimes things are so obvious it is utterly amazing that doubters can happen. This seems to be one of those times. As of this evening (18 April) 38,732 Americans are known to have died from Covid 19 and some people are still disputing the value of the lockdowns.

In Florida, defying all logic, the governor modified his rather weak lockdown order to make professional wrestling, "essential," and open the beaches. In South Dakota, there are emerging hotspots, and a governor who dismisses fears. In Michigan, California, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, white nationalist gun advocates demonstrate against lockdowns.

And in the chaos, the president calls for white nationalists to "liberate" their States. If there is one thing this president and administration can be known for, it is releasing the anti-science racist portion of the society from any social restraint.

I think some people simply do not want reality. They will act as though the fantasy they want is what the universe supplies, or will if the, "liberals" stop interfering. When these delusional folk are voters, any republic is in danger. When the president is one of the delusioned, the republic is in mortal danger. That is where I fear we are. If as I fear, South Dakota and Florida become breeding grounds for the virus, all of us may become subject to a second wave.

Looking around the world it is clear what works. Breaking the path of the pandemic requires aggressive testing, extensive contact tracing and intense quarantine discipline. Beginning this regime is a problem because we lack adequate testing. President Trump does not want it. We actually need two tests: one to identify infected persons, the other, an antibody test to identify persons who have had the disease and survived. Quality quick tests exist, Germany, Iceland and South Korea have them in use.

We have been here before. We broke epidemic transmissions of polio and yes influenza. In both cases what finally made the difference was an effective vaccine. Until we have one, isolation and social distancing are the weapons we have. New York has experienced a lower than feared death toll not because the estimates were wrong but because the State government acted effectively in spite of Federal incompetence. And as "good" as the numbers are, many died who did not have to die: deaths that lie on the doorstep of the president.

We will survive this. Our scientific community will create a vaccine that can be widely distributed. Even in our culture, the scars of moral failure may run very deep. When we finally understand the death we have inflicted on our country, guilt will be a reasonable reaction. I pray the republic will survive.


Leonard said...

I think Donald Trump only operates by the seat of his pants and tries to stamp out conflicting reality when it challenges his blundering compulsiveness. The man is unfit in so many ways to be a leader as he has a past of fraud and ongoing deceit. The action he takes to keep his followers alive is always a matter of fear/hate mongering/scapegoating...like a spoiled child he grabs, he steals and he screams ugly words at others...I believe he is a out of control Narcissist and a lost/obsessive person who has nowhere left to hide. Yes, it seems he is actually using the current disease as a weapon again fellow citizens...the elderly will receive fewer Social Security checks/etc. This may become "Trumps Last Stand."

Christal Beyer said...

I agree that people died because the federal government was not proactive early enough in this journey. Sadly, Trump's response to the Pandemic is to make everything about himself. Trump's last stand is going to go up in flames. I'm looking forward to the day when Covid 19 will be behind us like, polio.


JimB said...

Len Frank schaeffer and Lionel Deimel refer to what passes for Trump's logic as "magical thinking." Of course the problem is that Trump is not a wizard. "Out of control Narcissist" seems entirely too apt. The next term begins January 20th next year. We have to hope, work, and pray for the republic until then.


JimB said...


I hope we can last as an organized society until the first vaccines become available.


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