Some good news. In the early hours of the morning the Senate finally agreed to a $2-trillion bipartisan stimulus/relief bill. Senator Schumer tweeted this at 2:40AM:
We have a bipartisan agreement to address this public health and economic crisis. It is not a moment of celebration but one of necessity. We fought to send much-needed resources to fight coronavirus and to put people and workers first. The agreement now reflects those priorities.
Details have not yet been released but they will surely be all over the airwaves this morning. Let’s hope Democrats were able to keep Trump from getting an opaque slush fund to shower his corporate cronies with, not to mention bailing out his own properties. And let’s hope direct payments make it to our friends and neighbors most in need, including small businesses.
The stock market rose several thousand points yesterday in anticipation of the stimulus, and rose again in overnight markets, but it’s hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. We are at the beginning of a marathon, not a sprint. Trump is still clinging to the notion that we should end the shutdown soon, saying he hopes churches will be full on Easter–though more congruent with his brand would be that strip clubs will be full by Easter. Luckily for us, Trump didn’t start the shutdown and he won’t be able to end it. That will be up to the states, in concert with medical professionals and scientists. But it’s already becoming clear that different states will take different approaches at different times, which is a recipe for long-term disaster. As long as the virus is circulating somewhere in the USA, we are all at risk.
Think about this. A vaccine won’t be ready for at least a year, maybe longer. And a viable treatment–like “tamiflu”–for the coronavirus is still not near. It needs to be identified, then tested, then mass produced. So that’s, what, two months at a minimum? Four to six months, more realistically? Until such a treatment is available, and with the virus not quarantined (which won’t be possible without hundreds of millions of tests and a country-wide shutdown), who in their right mind would go to a restaurant, or a concert, or a sporting event, regardless of what Trump said? Who would get on a plane, or take the subway, or take a taxicab, unless they absolutely had to? Who would enter a small store if others were inside? Who would stay in a hotel or visit a movie theater? This economy won’t be able to start recovering until people have confidence in one of two things. Either the virus has been fully quarantined, or people will not die if they get it. We are a long way from both.
Trump’s efforts to get people back to a normal life will only hamper our ability to resolve this deadly outbreak. Meanwhile, people are dying. And because of Trump’s dithering and incompetence, many are about to die who could be saved if only Trump had ordered ventilators and PPE six weeks ago. Governor Cuomo gave an impassioned speech from the Javits Center yesterday, where they are preparing a makeshift overflow hospital. New York is getting 400 ventilators from FEMA. We need 30,000. That’s the scale of tragedy that is unfolding in our state. So please, only go out for food, medicine or emergencies, and keep a safe distance from others. Stay safe and keep your fellow citizens safe.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”