What If The Adults Had
Been In Charge?
At this point, if there is one thing that both Democrats and
Republicans can agree upon is that the response to the threat of the
coronavirus pandemic in the United States has been mediocre, at best. Our
infection rate is high. Our death numbers are way more than would be the case
during an average flu year and we haven’t even gotten to the fall yet.
Hospitals in many places were overwhelmed. There was no national plan to
distribute PPE and testing has been both hit or miss in its availability and
mostly miss in its turnaround time.
This election will clearly be a referendum on how the Trump
Administration handled this crisis although to be fair, the states and local
municipalities have to take some responsibility for how this worked out and how
it will in the future.
What do we know for certain?
First, this was a highly contagious respiratory virus that
emanated from Wuhan, China from an as yet undetermined source and rapidly
spread throughout the world despite the warnings of altruistic Chinese
physicians trying to alert the globe of what they had observed.
Second, certain hot spots, primarily Italy and New York,
were disasters with hospitals being overrun with sick people and death.
Third, most of the death occurred among the elderly, but not
only. Young people did contract the disease, needed to be ventilated and some
died. The argument that this was only a disease of the elderly is simply
incorrect. Mostly it was, but not only and governments must protect all the
people, even the elderly.
Fourth, this was particularly bad in nursing homes and the
New York governor’s decision to send sick patients back to nursing homes was a
Fifth, according to most experts, mask wearing decreases
aerosolization spread which also contains the spread of the virus to some
degree. Masks are a good idea and should be mandated everywhere.
Sixth, indoor spread among people in close proximity to one
another was inevitable. Bars and restaurants along with gyms had to be closed
until adequate safeguards could be put in place if that was possible. The CDC
had developed good guidelines for reopening. They were largely ignored.
Seventh, hand washing works. Do it. Everyone.
Eighth, the threat is real and had we responded in a
reasonable way, commerce could have been maintained with social distancing,
masks, and hand hygiene. This is what was done in Sweden and there the
contagion is contained even as they had a higher death rate than Norway and
Denmark which shut down more tightly. Of course, New Zealand, Taiwan and Australia
all handled this better than we did and have far less death, but the key here
is striking a balance between public health and a sound economy which should
have been manageable, but seems to have eluded our leaders.
Trump made a mess of this by not really deciding on
anything. He had no plan despite having been given one by the out-going Obama
Administration in January of 2017 called Crimson Contagion about which this
blog has written already.
What was really lacking was adult, competent leadership
giving a clear message in line with the science, but with an eye toward the
economy which did not have to be wrecked as it was.
Now, with federal assistance to the out of work curtailed, I
fear things will get even rockier for the economy which was being propped up by
the $600 per week allocations coming from Washington. Now what?
I have friends that insist that Trump be given another
chance because Biden is cognitively impaired and would allow the leftists of
antifa to push him around. I fear this, too, but am more confident of the
Democratic ticket with Kamala Harris on it. My guess is that if elected, she
will be in the Oval Office before the end of the first term. That would be a
start to having adults in charge. It can’t happen soon enough.