In this Peggy Noonan column from The Wall Street Journal on October 17, there is but one conclusion to be drawn. The country has gone nuts, or at least its elected representatives have. Ms. Noonan quotes an interview that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave Wolf Blitzer where she castigates the usually sensitive Blitzer for not understanding why she won’t make a $1.8 trillion deal with President Trump to fund covid relief. She insists that Blitzer doesn’t understand what she does about hungry Americans on food lines. Hmmm. I think he gets it and she doesn’t. While everyone is worried about the age of the eventual winner of the presidency, they should be looking at the age of the congressional leadership in McConnell and Pelosi. None of this is good for those Americans on the food lines.
And what about that covid?
I caught a lot of grief about the recent blog in which I claimed to be confused and doubting about the true extent of the coronavirus problem. I was criticized for, on the one hand noting that we usually don’t test for respiratory viruses, and then, on the other, advocating more testing. Why? Both are true. We usually do not test asymptomatic patients for the presence of influenza and we might have been able to handle the coronavirus threat better with more extensive testing, tracing and quarantining in this case. Maybe. Such maneuvers were applied in Europe and the continent is suffering a recent resurgence in cases of the virus.
Let’s be clear. Despite what the news media says, there was never a plan in place, nor could there have been, to eradicate the virus. Only herd immunity can blunt the virus’s effects and that has to happen either through widespread infection or a vaccine. While we were pursuing a vaccine, the idea of mitigation was to spread the curve of natural infection over time so as not to overwhelm the health care system. That’s it. The total number of cases was never going to go down without the vaccine or a wave of infection that really could have overwhelmed hospitals as happened in Italy and New York City because they delayed in mitigation strategies or screwed them up by sending old sick people back to nursing homes.
My doubt is how best we could have handled this, how we will in the future, and who the heck is going to be in charge of whatever our response could be because whatever we did this time was a mess.
I still suggest a national task force to formulate guidelines for response to the next pandemic and then the formation of state and local task forces to draw up regional plans for people to follow. These plans ought to be widely vetted so none appears to be the product of autocracy, but rather a considered community response to an anticipated problem, because that’s what is needed so we don’t divide ourselves politically over what ought to be a public health matter.
I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of crazy, especially the crazy in Washington. I am shocked that Amy Coney Barrett could keep a straight face or stay awake during her own hearings for the idiocy with which the Senate Judiciary Committee presented itself. We all know how this was going to end. Why not get there and spend time on a covid relief package?
Life in Washington looks even crazier than when I was there ten years ago and it was crazy then. The solution may be to vote every incumbent out of office and start again to the best of our ability. How much crazier can it get? Forget I said that.