Trump keeps flip-flopping on whether or not the coronavirus task force will continue to stay in place and “work.” At least half the states are starting or will be starting soon to relax stay-at-home policies and move to reopen their economies, yet they still have no wide-spread testing ability nor contact tracing infrastructure set up. This will surely cause a second wave of infections and death, as Georgia is already starting to experience in the wake of its relaxed policy. States like Iowa are starting to relax even though their cases seem to be increasing exponentially. It’s sad that so many conservatives bash science and learning, but it’s especially pathetic during a pandemic when an understanding of numbers and exponential growth and doubling times could be the difference between a policy that protects citizens and a policy that fosters their death.
Missing from the whining to re-open our economy by Republicans is an acknowledgement of our central economic driver: consumer spending. And consumer spending is a function of consumer confidence. Right now most consumers are supremely unconfident, as polls consistently show. States, counties and towns can call for their businesses to “re-open” all they want but a slow return to normal will only happen when the majority of citizens feel safe patronizing those businesses. And that will only happen when people are reasonably confident they won’t die. That confidence could come, ideally, through a vaccine. It could also come from a broad and effective testing and tracing regimen. And it could come from an effective treatment for anyone afflicted by Covid. The first, a vaccine, is many months away, and the second, testing and tracing, isn’t going to happen because Trump failed to mobilize our government and nation to get it done. So the most likely avenue is door number three, an anti-viral medication that blocks the virus from overwhelming our immune system. But such a treatment will surely take a while to develop as well. Yet states, at Trump’s urging, are pushing to re-open without any of these tools, and most, if not all, will see a surge in cases a few weeks later. In characteristically dark and blunt fashion, comedian Jeff Tiedrich summed up Trump’s position well yesterday on Twitter:
I feel deeply sorry for the many small business owners who are desperate to reclaim some portion of their income. But nothing will change until their customers return. And right now, most of those customers look at the White House and feel a profound lack of confidence as the president does nothing to mount a national response and instead goes on late-night Twitter rampages and brags about his popularity on Facebook and his “amazing response” to an outbreak that has killed more than 73,000 Americans, and counting. Trump has surrendered.
Trump has also refused to wear a mask, which sets the tone for so many of his followers for whom the mask has become a symbol of oppression and liberal hysteria–until their lives are personally touched by the tragedy of Covid. But wearing a mask seems to be one of the most effective tools to slow and stop the spread of the virus. In case you missed it, here’s a wonderful op-ed from the Tampa Bay Times by Leonard Pitts Jr. on wearing a mask, entitled “I will not die of stupid:”
Rep Antonio Delgado is holding his eighth tele-town-hall TONIGHT at 4:30 so call this number to join and find out what federal Covid resources are available to local residents: 855-905-3295.
Keep wearing masks, keep resisting Trump, and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”