The Covid-19 infection tally is approaching 800,000 and the death toll surpassed 42,000 yesterday. The overall rate of growth of the outbreak is slowing, but only because most states are under stay-at-home orders. Georgia, on the other hand, is poised to recklessly loosen some restrictions despite being a hot-spot with steadily increasing cases approaching 20,000. It’s important to remember that the worst losses from the Spanish Flu of 1918 came in a second wave of deaths after restrictions were loosened, and that’s the risk Southern governors are toying with as they push their residents to normalize as a way to please Trump. Never lose sight of the geometric growth of this virus:
- Jan 20 – 1st case
- Feb 20 – 15 cases
- Mar 20 – 18,170
- Apr 20 – 792,759
The White House is apparently finally invoking the Defense Production Act to push certain corporations to produce virus testing swabs, one of the key components of testing that is in short supply. But the White House is still sending mixed signals on who will conduct the massive and widespread testing necessary to move away from stay-at-home. Congress continues to hammer out the next rescue bill but it’s hit a last minute snag on this issue of testing. Democrats want the bill to fund a nationwide testing strategy while Trump insists that each state do it’s own–despite the administration talking about the NIH and CDC coordinating testing. What’s the point of having a federal government if it can’t coordinate a national, centralized testing regime during a historic health crisis? It’s a giant mess, all flowing from the incompetent mess at the top of the executive branch.
In case you missed it, Trump was asked yesterday at his daily verbal diarrhea session why, in the midst of a pandemic that’s killed forty thousand Americans, he keeps citing articles about what a good job he is doing. His ridiculous reply didn’t answer the question, instead suggesting that praising himself somehow helped workers on the front lines of the virus response–all underscoring what a grotesque and tragic failure he has been in this period of deep crisis.
The pandemic crisis has not only hammered the broad economy, but it has now engulfed the oil industry, which is suffering a dramatic evaporation of demand. Oil is continually being pumped and delivered, all based on contracts that were signed weeks and months ago. So now oil is showing up to fuel depots that are already full. So extractors and refiners are actually trying to pay others to take the oil off their hands. That’s right, for the first time in history, the cost of crude oil is less than zero–it’s negative! For economies like Russia that depend on oil, it’s a devastating development.
One thing the Trump regime continues to accomplish is destroying our institutions from the inside out. Yesterday it was reported that Trump was going to put a stop to all immigration, legal or otherwise, “because of the virus.” Trump is using the outbreak as an excuse to shut down immigration, banning all new green cards and work visas, an outcome that white supremacists have dreamed about for decades. While the rest of us are locked in our homes and despair for the future, Trump’s goon squad is hard at work making our nation more insular and hostile and unwelcoming. His brand, after all, is cruelty. This should just add more fuel to our fire to vote, no matter what.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”
PS – if you receive social security (survivor or disability) or Railroad Retirement benefits and you have dependent children, your window to get a $500 check for each child closes at 12pm on Wednesday. Here are more details: