Friday, September 11, 2020

Living during the pandemic

One morning we're told by THE NEW YORK TIMES and NPR that there's a vaccine that the states will get at the end of October and they'll start injections on November 1st. Then by the end of the day, stocks are dropping in response to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health saying nope, not happening. He repeated that to THE PBS NEWSHOUR:


Judy Woodruff: The idea that we're going to have a vaccine by November 3, how realistic? 

 Anthony Fauci: Well, I think that's unlikely. I mean, the only way you can see that scenario come true is if that there are so many infections in the clinical trial sites, that you get an efficacy answer sooner than you would have projected. Like I said, it's not impossible, Judy, but it's unlikely that we'll have a definitive answer at that time, more likely by the end of the year.

They sure are asking a lot of Americans. We're masked up, social distancing and waiting. Waiting for some form of good news.

The summer and the season's heat didn't kill off COVID. The numbers continue to climb nationally. And we're getting closer to flu season. SCIENTIFIC AMERICA reports "Coronavirus and the Flu: A Looming Double Threat."


And Americans try to cope and carry on.

At the start of March, Ava and C.I. covered the 1918 flu pandemic.  They had been discussing the special with doctors and nurses and scientists and continued to do so after they published their article. They called us (Jess, Dona, Jim and Ty) together to explain what was likely about to take place. And we thought they were crazy. Jim even said, "That's never going to happen."

Because in March who could believe that we would become a population wearing masks anytime we were outside the house? Who could believe that businesses would be shutting down? In March, we were still thinking about going to the movies -- and not thinking about wearing a mask while doing so.

Our world has changed. Significantly. And as Trina has pointed out repeatedly, despite commercials that are supposed to make you feel connected, we are not all in this together.

Too many are profiting during the pandemic. The workers aren't profiting. When many businesses shut down, grocery stores didn't, clinics and hospitals didn't, many drive thrus remained open, etc. Those workers?

They don't even praise them in commercials today and they certainly, in Congress, never delivered on the promised heroes pay. You don't even hear them talk about that anymore. There's no more pretense of gratitude to the people whose work keeps our lives going. 

Trina, who is a nurse, made a point to praise the people who keep the clinic and the hospital she works in going. She noted that among those to be praised are the sanitation staff because without them nothing would be clean. Elaine made a point to praise the woman at the drive thru where she gets her morning coffee.

Gratitude was momentary for the media and they quickly moved on as did the Congress.

If you don't get how little both parties in Congress value the American people, they never delivered a second stimulus. They still haven't. The additional unemployment benefits ran out in August. Remember the so-called CARES Act that Congress passed? An extra $600 a week due to the COVID pandemic, that's what Congress gave . . . for a few months. That and a one-time $1,200 check for some Americans.

That was meager when it happened. Months later, it's even more meager. And though the pandemic continues, the CARES Act does not. Screw the American people -- that's the message from the Congress -- and that's a message in an election year. Could public servants be more disdainful of the Americans that they are supposed to be serving?

Jack Kelly (FORBES) put the number of unemployed Americans at 51 million in July:

On Thursday, the United States Department of Labor announced that over 1.3 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week. This report marks the 17th consecutive week of 1-million-plus unemployment claims. About 51 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This doesn’t include the millions of others who’ve finished collecting benefits, given up looking for a job or have reluctantly taken a position far below their prior compensation level just to make ends meet.

That's 18% of the adult population. And Congress refused to help these people. The six hundred additional payments? They might make people not want to work, our 'friends' in Congress insisted.

And everyone went on their holiday and acted like the American people didn't matter. Can Nancy Pelosi do anything other than deliver a bitchy remark? If so, we're not seeing it. She's a failure as Speaker of the House. A real leader could have -- and would have -- fought for the American people.

But maybe when you're mega Nancy and you've never wanted for anything, you've never struggled to pay bills, maybe you're so damn out of touch that you don't grasp how ridiculous you look porking on your expensive ice cream and living it up and laughing.

People are suffering. People are worried. No one seems to grasp that.

Back in 2005, we used to do a feature, a sort of news wrap. C.I. reminded us of one where Elaine cited a SUNDAY TIMES OF LONDON article:


The global death toll could make the pandemic more serious than the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak, the worst infection since mass statistics have been gathered.

That was when people were concerned with the bird flu. It ended up not being as bad as it could have been. But there have been signs all along and our leaders should have been prepared for a COVID type emergency to emerge.

This is an emergency, it's a pandemic. And we see no sense of urgency from our government and no effort to help the American people. Democrat or Republican, you've all been failures.

In a world that really valued justice, every incumbent would lose their office in the upcoming elections. "Throw the bums out" would be the rallying cry.

Maybe someday we'll get to that point, where the American people are willing to fight for their own rights and needs.


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