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People are dying from COVID-19– and it’s not normal. Blaming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won’t help. Our federal government must take steps, or more will die unnecessarily.

2020-04-30

Be Here Now– photo by Harald Lepisk courtesy of pixabay.com

According to the Worldometer, there were 2,390 deaths in the US yesterday attributed to COVID-19.  These figures are approximate and almost certainly an underestimate.  In addition to the attributed (or “confirmed”) deaths, there has been a surge in overall deaths since March.  These numbers are even less definite, but some I have seen appear to indicate a doubling of the total death rate in the US– aside from the deaths due to the virus.

The death rate is a number that requires considerable study and time to nail down.  It will be a year before the final numbers are compiled.  Death certificates, bodies found at home after lying unnoticed for a long time, inquests, autopsies, burials– all this takes time.

This makes the administration’s claims that only 70,000 people will die from the new virus (never stating over what period of time) nonsense.  It’s a moving target, and the numbers are mounting up.  If an average of 2,000 people a day die over the next month, that will be another 60,000 people, just for the month of May.  Who knows how long this will go on, and who knows what effect loosening restrictions will have.

According to multiple news sources (not counting Fox News and OANN (One America News Network)) the federal administration is not looking to use its awesome powers under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase the output of test swabs, vials, virus transport medium, testing reagents, face masks, N95 masks, disposable surgical gowns, or even ventilators.  All of these things are needed.  All can be manufactured here in the US with a guaranteed profit by US-run factories.  All He needs to do is order the production, set a price, guarantee a profit, guarantee that any extras will be added to the National Security Stockpile, and sign off.  But, following the advice of extremely short-sighted business friends of his, our president has chosen to sit on his hands and let his son-in-law secretly make sweetheart deals with rich friends to source these items from overseas and fly them here in private jets at outrageous markups.

The president and vice-president need to set an example and show how seriously they take this problem.  Instead, the vice-president visits sick patients without wearing a mask.  The president encourages protesters who flout “social distancing” precautions and chant “lock her up” against a governor who is merely trying to enforce “stay at home” rules.

Meanwhile, in some cities, 80% of the patients in the intensive care units (ICUs) are black.  Infection rates among poor and black people are double or more the rates in well-to-do, white people.  In some prisons, three-quarters of the inmates are testing positive for the virus.  The pandemic is having a disproportionate effect on those least able to withstand its pernicious effects.  The people with means are lurking in their second homes far away or even sheltering in bunkers, some stocked with two years worth of food.  They’re hiding out until a vaccine is developed and they’re making sure that they’ll be first in line to be vaccinated.

This pandemic has laid bare the effects of unequal wealth and resource maldistribution.  Some people have more than enough, and they won’t share it with those who are wanting.  Shame on them.

The president is trying to distract the people from His poor choices and lack of leadership.  He has failed to prepare us and is continuing to fail to use the powers he has to do what needs to be done to bring us through this crisis.  He will try to distract by blaming the Chinese, particularly the Chinese Communist Party, for this pandemic.  There is plenty of blame to go around.  The Chinese government initially tried to cover up the reports of a new kind of pneumonia, but once the dimensions of the disaster became apparent, they shifted into overdrive to control its effects within their own country.  They never realized that, by the time they acted to stop its spread, it had already escaped Wuhan, Hubei, and China, and had begun to circulate throughout the world.

Our actions at the outset worsened the spread.  Repatriation of foreigners from the epicenter merely carried virus among asymptomatic people to all corners of the globe.  Forty thousand people came to the US from China after the president’s order to “lockdown” the country.  Thousands more came from Europe to New York and spread the pandemic there.  The virus is so insidious that the only effective way to quarantine would have been to not allow anyone at all to leave Wuhan after January 15 (the day the first known patient in the US left Wuhan and returned to the United States).

The virus is carried by asymptomatic people who constitute the majority of those infected; it is only detected by nasopharyngeal swabs in about 75% of those who have it, even at the height of illness; it can be spread by tiny airborne particles, not just to people within six feet, but to everyone in crowded interior locations with poor ventilation (this was proven by incidents in buses and in offices that the Chinese published in scientific papers, regardless of the current debate over “possible airborne transmission”).  All of these facts make control of this virus next to impossible without complete quarantines like those used in measles epidemics.

The Chinese government has been opaque about this virus and they have refused to allow foreign visitors to the epicenter and to the laboratories affected, but they have released sufficient information for us to figure out what we need to do.  They gave us the virus genome, a critical piece of information that will lead to a vaccine.  As a private citizen, I have been able to learn enough to know what needs to be done.  There is no excuse for distractions and laying the blame on others.  We are the ones who need to take care of it.

We cannot waste time arguing about who is to blame and how much they will have to pay us (as if we could force them to pay us without destroying the world’s economy).  We must act now, even though it is far past time to begin– the more we wait, the more lives will be lost.

 

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