Sunday, August 9, 2020

Three Month Check In



                                                                     written 2 August 2020      published 9 August 2020


          On May 1st, Trump began pushing to "reopen" the economy to help his re-election, hoping everyone would ignore Covid-19.  But the virus never got the memo.

            On August 2nd, reported 4,790,879 US cases, the largest infection in the world: 26.4% of the global total, within 4% of the global population.  The US death count is 158,180 (3.3% of cases).  On 29 July, 1,713 Americans died: one person every 50 seconds.  Our 7-day running average of daily deaths is 1,225.  Every three days more Americans die from Covid-19 than in the World Trade Center collapse.

            Over the last three months, the US per capita death has increased by 140%, with only 13 states growing at a slower rate (69% under Democratic leadership).  During the same three months, per capita deaths in 18 states have grown over twice as fast (66% under Republican leadership).  The 5 leading states (all Republican) are: Utah (533%), South Carolina (540%), Arkansas (614%), Texas (697%), and Arizona (958%).

            Early in the pandemic, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had infections expanding out of control, but over the last three months, their per capita death total increased more slowly each month as follows: New York 24%, 6%, 4%, New Jersey 53%, 31%, 6%, and Connecticut 70%, 12%, 3%.  This shows that an uncontrolled infection can be tamed by leadership applying proper public health measures.

            California now has the largest case load in the US (509,291), but Florida and Texas are coming on strong with larger daily increases, and could surpass us in the next few weeks.  Los Angeles at 37%, and the ten southern counties combined at 67%, represent the largest collection of cases in the state, but are smaller percentages than a month ago, indicating increased infection throughout the rest of the state.  California per capita death has increased 339% in the last 3 months, 2.4 times the national level.  

            Case count in Mendocino County has jumped over 375% in the last month, from 83 to 312, with 2/3 being in the Ukiah Valley.  This probably reflects the local and tourist activities around the Fourth of July weekend.  The first death was two weeks ago, and is now up to 9.

            The federal response to the pandemic has been inadequate, and even destructive.  The president still spreads misinformation about the virus, muzzles public health experts, hides hospitalization data, refuses to create any kind of national response, and is pushing to reopen schools for in person learning.  

            Republican governors follow his lead.  In Georgia (deaths increased 212%), the governor is suing the mayor of Atlanta to prevent a mask ordinance.  In Florida (deaths increased 398%), there are no state level mask or social distancing rules.  In Texas (deaths increased 697%), the governor prohibits mayors from passing any local public health measures, despite hospitals being overwhelmed.  

            In late March, a Covid-19 task force headed by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, began to form a national Covid-19 response, but canceled the work because only blue states were affected at the time.

            The GDP decline in the 2nd quarter was the largest in US history.  With rising Covid-19 infections, states are renewing business restrictions to keep their hospital systems functioning.  Economic slowdown has reduced state and city incomes, while the pandemic has increased expenses, risking cuts in essential services to avoid bankruptcy.  Schools need massive investments to balance education and public safety.  The federal government does nothing because half the Senate Republicans won't support any more Covid-19 relief.  Federal support for the unemployed millions, and moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, just expired because the Senate refused to act on House passed extensions. 

            With less than 100 days until the election, the president is struggling.  Unwilling to deal with the medical and financial issues, Trump sent armed agents into Democratic cities, suggested delaying the election, and slowed down the Post Office to cast doubt on voting by mail.  He is laying the foundation to claim election fraud, destroying our democracy, trying to steal an election he can't win fairly.

            When Hitler, another malignant narcissist, realized Germany had lost, he ordered the infrastructure be destroyed, to take the country down with him.  Patriotic Germans refused such insanity.  We must overwhelmingly vote Trump out, and curtail his destructive insanity until his term expires.