Over the weekend, I was talking with a friend who suggested that because of all the people participating in mass protests across the country, he thought that there might be an uptick in COVID-19 infections in a couple of weeks. I disagreed with him. It wasn't a case of "might," I was absolutely sure there would be. How in the world could there not?? We're seeing packed groups of thousand and thousands and thousands marching together, touching, hugging, shaking hands, many thankfully with facemasks, but far-far too many without.
When pictures of these masses of humanity are shown, reaction from reporters and social media tend to be one of almost awe. And I understand. It's remarkably admirable the passion they're showing for such a critically important issue. Noble even. And I hold them all high in my esteem for the grace of heart they are demonstrating. What I also see in all those images is a giant human Petri dish, thousand and thousands of infected cells creating a potent culture for growing the coronavirus.
Of course there will be an uptick in infections. How can there not?
The best description of it that I've heard from doctors who have expressed the medical view beyond just the understandable admiration is that what we'll see is an uptick in the first wave. Before the second wave. Most scientists have been concerned about the second wave and how such things are often more intense than the first wave. That's based on controlling the first wave and it dwindling down. But the first wave in the U.S. is not going to dwindle down, but start rising up again. Mind you, I'm no doctor or scientist, so I could be wrong. It's just that no expert I've heard though has even hinted otherwise. So, I'm going on their word.
Once upon a time, long ago back in late February, Trump said that in a few days there will be just 2-3 cases and then soon the coronavirus will be gone like a "miracle." It was, of course, an idiot thing to say, but that didn't stop him. He also said that the coronavirus was like the flu. And after all, the normal flu always killed 30,000 people each year, so there's nothing to worry about. That was an idiot statement, too -- but unlike the first idiot statement of it all be gone in days like a "miracle" that even Trump cultists seemed to think profoundlly unlikely, this latter idiot statement got repeated extensively because 30,000 is a Really Big Number, and so when COVID-19 deaths would turn out to be less than that, or even a bit more, all the hoax worry would be shown for the libtard bias hatred of Trump they were sure it was.
Then on April 20, Trump's pronouncement of deaths changed ever so slightly, and he said, "Now we’re going toward 50, I’m hearing, or 60,000 people.” And I was sure that even that was far too low. It was only April, after all.
So, a month passed and on May 20, Trump then said, "I'm hearing 74,000." Me, without all the ace contact he had with actual world-expert doctors and scientists in charge advising him, I was hearing 150,000, at least. And these are just the deaths being reported. Trump was probably hearing his numbers where he hears all such things, pulled from his rear end.
It was a big deal in the country when we passed 100,000 deaths a couple weeks ago. Made all the front pages. The New York Times even listed one thousand names covering on its entire front page to memorialize the horror. Passing that milestone number was covered extensively on TV.
That was a couple weeks ago. As of today, there are already 113,221 American deaths. That we know of. Before the uptick of the first wave. Which is before the second wave. With the many tens of thousand of people marching arm-in-arm in the streets. And it's only the beginning of June.
Yes, it's just "like the flu," the Trump cultists laughed, having heard it from their Dear Leader. And the flu always killed 30,000 Americans each year. A few times it even killed 60,000 Americans. But 30,000, that's every year. So, screw you and your Dem libtard hoax of the coronavirus, this is just "like the flu."
Man, does 60,000 deaths sound quaint right now. A dream we could wish for.
What I tried to respond when I could -- and it was like trying to catch all the raindrops in a storm with just your hands, so after a while there really isn't anything one could seriously do -- is that COVID-19 was absolutely nothing "like the flu." When 30.000 Americans die every year...and this should be a pretty easy concept to figure out...society does not come to a halt. The entire country doesn't wear face masks each flu season. People aren't told to shelter-at-home for just a week, let alone months. No one is told to social distance when coming in contact with others No businesses shut down. Nor do 40 million people apply for unemployment every winter when the flu comes on. And entire major industries don't risk bankruptcy. No, in the flu season -- Life...just...goes...on. Like normal. Nothing changes. It's life as always. People go to work. Hug and kiss. Shake hands with strangers. Get a flu shot. And yes, 30,000 Americans tragically die. But flu season, it's just every day life.
With COVID-19...people shelter at home, businesses close, we social distance, wear face masks, wash our hands repeatedly throughout the day, wash our groceries to be safe, take every safety precaution society can -- and in just three months, with ALL that massive, intense precaution daily...100,000 Americans have already died. And now just two weeks later, it's 113,055. That we know of. And it's continuing, it's probably much more. With an uptick soon. And then a second wave. This is not "like the flu." Regardless of what Trump said and his minions believed.
Oh, yes, and one other small thing about COVID-19 -- unlike the flu...there is no vaccine. And at the very best, if we're lucky, there likely won't be for a year before everyone is inoculated. Around the world. And further, many insane people are saying they won't take the vaccine because they have a conspiratorial fear that Bill Gates or George Soros or perhaps Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez has made the vaccine for some inexplicable, nefarious purpose. So, the infection will spread among them. And that's if a vaccine is, in fact, found. And that it has lasting effect.
I just hope that the number of dead Americans is contained as ghoulishly low as 150,000. The problem with that is we're are going to be around 130,00 deaths by the end of June. When the uptick of the first wave will kick in. Before the second wave.
This is nothing "like the flu." No matter what Trump said back then when it would be gone like a "miracle."
And the elected members of the Republican Party enable him, are complicit and have blood on their hands. And continue to do nothing, continue to not support national testing, continue as aggressively as they can to happily open businesses as numbers rise in their states, continue to not require factories to provide infection reports.
Yes, I know this here has been a fairly bleak bit of observation. And I'm not a doctor, after all, so it's just amateur medical analysis, although I wouldn't rely on that as positive news to hold on to. But happily, there is at the very least one bit of good news from all this --
Because the situation is as tragic and dismal as it is, and because on top of it we have mass protests across the country over the issue of Black Lives Matter, I think the era of the Trump administration is nearing an end, and each day brings us more national outrage and closer to the election of Joe Biden, which will be the first step toward hope, decency, a trust and understanding of science, compassion, resolution, and sanity.
But that election cannot be taken for granted. Nor will it quite confident. That's because we have seen the horrified, vitriolic indignation in the streets each day -- and not just mere mass outrage, but that which risks their lives in the middle of a pandemic. All of this and more is pushing to ensure that absolutely nothing is taken for granted.
A few months back, I wrote about friends saying to me that they hoped people would "remember" how bad things were by the time the election comes. And I wrote at length how it is not possible that people won't remember a pandemic, 70,000 dead, sheltering-at-home for months, being unemployed and many having no job to go back to. And that was two months ago. Now throw in 113,055 dead already -- and add in so many thousands of Americans protests in the streets across the country that Trump brought in the military to gas and shoot rubber bullets at and threatened enabling the Insurrection Act to march in the army, while covering in bunker. As national protests continue. And build around the world.
Hope people remember??!! It is our nightmare every day, and people are literally marching for their lives. It's not a case of will they remember -- it's will they ever even forget generations from today? But for now, for November, the only issue is not remembering, but "getting out the vote," and every shoe you see on the streets right now will be leading that charge.
And Trump and the entire elected members of Republican Party, federal and state, who enable him are complicit in their joint cruelty, ignorance, complacency and fascism.
No, this is not just "like the Trump flu."
And bleach won't make it go away.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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