The coronavirus raged on as the number of cases in New York City last night passed 20,000 with 280 deaths thus far. As many of us have been doing recently, I’ve been calling friends and touching base, making sure everyone is safe and sane. I called a buddy yesterday and he picked up the phone…from his hospital bed at Mt. Sinai in Manhattan. He had Covid-19 and pneumonia, though he only needed oxygen and seemed to be recovering. But he sounded horrible. And he’s only 64. So I now have a personal connection to the outbreak. Regardless of what any Fox Network nitwit says, nobody should want to risk getting or spreading this virus.
And yet, several governors around the country are steadfastly against shutting down their states despite the dire warnings. Florida governor De Santis is resisting calls for a statewide shutdown even though the Spring Break crowds were a national scandal of viral spread. De Santis believes that because two-thirds of Florida counties have no cases, there’s no need. So apparently De Santis has not noticed what has happened in every other populated state, and he clearly doesn’t understand the math of exponential functions, so many more Floridians are now at risk. Even worse, Mississippi governor Reeves has declared any city or local shutdowns invalid. He wants his residents to continue to work even though Covid-19 cases are rapidly rising there. If there were a stature for reckless endangerment, he would be guilty. And this kind of reckless and irresponsible governing will ensure that we won’t follow the path that South Korea has taken, but will instead go the way of Italy and now Spain–where it has been reported that they are taking respirators away from people over 65 and leaving them to die so younger critical patients can be saved.
The Senate last night formally passed the final text version of the coronavirus stimulus/relief bill that will now go to Trump’s desk. The bill passed unanimously and provided $2-trillion in subsidies, payments and loans to individuals, small businesses and corporations. The good news is that money is going directly to workers–not indirectly through their employers–but the bad news is that Trump’s companies will surely get some of the relief money. The stock market yesterday continued its rally right up until the closing bell, when it quickly gave back about half of its day’s gain, and has been moving sideways overnight. Perhaps the downdraft was due to the fact that the Senate bill will just barely be enough to help to prop up the economy (Ari Melber demonstrated this using actual numbers on Twitter last night) but it won’t be enough to stimulate the economy beyond where it was two weeks ago. Which brings me back to the point I made last night, a point I’m going to continue to make.
As long as Covid-19 is circulating in your area, you are playing Russian roulette every time you go out in public. If you catch it, you roughly have a 1 in 20 chance of being hospitalized and a 1 in 50 chance of dying. And that’s not going to change until we have an effective anti-viral treatment or a vaccine–or until we are able to completely contain the virus through widespread virus testing plus widespread antibody testing plus effective contact tracing. So our economy won’t even be able to start recovering until people have confidence in one of two things. (1) The virus has been fully contained, or (2) people will not die if they get it. We are a long way from either. Until then, who would go to a restaurant, an event, get on an airplane or take public transportation? Not me.
Rep Delgado has been hard at work trying to support our local farmers and small businesses through this catastrophe. But as the number of Covid-19 cases rose in NYS and cases began to occur in our district, he penned an op-ed in the Times Union two days ago urging the Trump regime to use the Defense Protection Act to produce medical equipment. In case you missed it, here it is:
Inexplicably, Trump has yet to put the DPA to use while dozens–soon to be hundreds–of our fellow citizens die daily from the pandemic.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”