Survival Of The Fittest

I assume many (most?) Trump supporters don’t believe in evolution. Otherwise, you wouldn’t think that they would be so eager to test the notion of survival of the fittest by attending their leaders campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m nuts or just overly cautious. But I look at the statistics — and the response by POTUS — and I’m inclined to take this pandemic seriously.

IMG_0010

I guess from the perspective of Trump and the Republican Party leaders the last point on this chart — days till election — is the most important. And realistically, Trump’s  reelection has been the driver in most of the pathetic decisions that the administration has made regarding the economy and public health up to this point.

So with the goal line of November clearly in sight, Trump and his Republican enablers are willing to roll the dice and reopen venues that clearly could lead to another wave of the virus.

Case in point: Planning to pack some 20,000 people nose to nose in a crowded convention hall for a political rally. And apparently there are people willing to disregard all the cautions of the medical experts and expose themselves and others to what is potentially a life ending ailment.

Again, maybe I’m nuts or just being overly cautious, but I’m not gullible enough to put my life at risk to satisfy the political and career ambitions of a handful of elected officials and government flunkies.

IMG_0727

So good luck to those who plan to attend the Trump rally. As they say in the movie The Hunger Games: “May the odds forever be in your favor.”

 

 

The Virus Is Winning

I guess it is a gross understatement to say that 2020 has been a miserable year, what with a pandemic already killing more than 100,000 in the USA, peaceful protests and riots gripping many American cities and dominating the news, and a mentally challenged President still trying to govern by tweet from the golf course.

Wonder how many parents who are trying to home school have turned to Sesame Street for help?

images-2

I digress.

Anyway, for as bad as the year has been thus far, can it get any worse? Sure, why not! After all, we haven’t even reached the official kickoff for summer yet.

The legitimate and important discussion about racism and law enforcement will continue and will continue to dominate the news.

And we are only months away from what most likely will be a nasty, contentious election.

Then there is the virus. For months, many like me have been trying to follow the advice of medical experts: stay home as much as possible, social distance, where a mask, wash your hands and yada, yada, yada.

IMG_0005

The advice of medical experts appears to be wearing thin. And in the absence of any real leadership I guess that is understandable. Americans in principle don’t like to be told that we can’t do something or go somewhere. And financially many are hurting, with businesses closing or struggling to survive and unemployment increasing to numbers not seen since the Great Depression.

Still, like most matters these days, how we respond to the virus has become highly partisan, with Trump supporters on one side and those who still have the ability to reason and think on the other.

IMG_0002

So it appears that we are inviting the virus to make a return visit, one with consequences that could exceed the first bout. Maybe there is a lesson here from the movie The Hunger Games.

IMG_0912

Here’s from an article in The Atlantic, “The Virus Will Win“:

A second wave of the coronavirus is on the way. When it arrives, we will lack the will to deal with it. Despite all the sacrifices of the past months, the virus is likely to win—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it already has.

In absolute terms, the United States has been hit harder than any other country. About a quarter of worldwide deaths have been recorded on these shores. And while the virus is no longer growing at an exponential rate, the threat it poses remains significant: According to a forecasting model by Morgan Stanley, the number of American cases will, if current trends hold, roughly double over the next two months.

But neither the impact of mass protests over police brutality nor the effect of the recent reopening of much of the country—including the casinos in Las Vegas—is reflected in the latest numbers. It can take at least 10 days for people to develop symptoms and seek out a test, and for the results to be aggregated and disseminated by public-health authorities.

Yikes.

And the article continues:

Even so, the disease is slowly starting to recede from the public’s attention. After months of dominating media coverage, COVID-19 has largely disappeared from the front pages of most national newspapers. In recent polls, the number of people who favor “reopening the economy as soon as possible” over “staying home as long as necessary” has increased. And so it is perhaps no surprise that even states where the number of new infections stands at an all-time high are pressing ahead with plans to lift many restrictions on businesses and mass gatherings.

So how did we end up in this mess? The Atlantic’s Yascha Mounk offers an opinion that strikes me as being correct:

In the fullness of time, many books will be written about why a country as rich, powerful, and scientifically advanced as the United States failed quite so badly at coping with a public-health emergency that experts had predicted for many years. As is always the case, competing explanations will quickly emerge. Some will focus on the incompetence of the Trump administration, while others will draw attention to the country’s loss of state capacity; some will argue that the United States is an outlier, while others will put its failure in the context of other countries, such as Brazil and Russia, that are also faring poorly.

I do not intend to offer a first draft of history. We are too close to the events to judge, with a cool head, which factors are most responsible for putting us in our current tragic situation. But I would like to offer a partial list of individuals and institutions who, however central or peripheral their contribution to the ultimate outcome, have helped to get us into this mess:

If the virus wins, it is because the World Health Organization downplayed the threat for far too long.

If the virus wins, it is because Donald Trump was more interested in hushing up bad news that might hurt the economy than in saving American lives.

If the virus wins, it is because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, created to deal with just this kind of emergency, has proved to be too bureaucratic and incompetent to do its job.

If the virus wins, it is because the White House did not even attempt to put a test-and-trace regime into place at the federal level.

Well, it looks to me like the virus is winning now — and wait until the fall when schools attempt to reopen.

images-1

Good grief.