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COVID19: the numbers matter

Friends and readers,
From last night:

Over 40,000 people in the U.S. have now died of COVID-19 — almost double last week’s death toll — with over three-quarters of a million confirmed cases of the virus. Globally, there are over 2.4 million confirmed cases and over 165,000 known fatalities. True numbers of deaths and infections, both in the U.S. and around the world, are unknown due to lack of testing, issues around reporting and tracking data, and an unknown number of asymptomatic cases.

At least 7,000 of those deaths have been linked to nursing homes across the country, including long-term care facilities for veterans. Tens of thousands of residents and employees have contracted the infection. At the Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, at least 55 people have died. Nursing care workers at some homes have stopped coming in to work, and many report a dire shortage in protective equipment.

A vast calamity continues to occur across the United States with the central federal government led by a man who does everything he can to stop all social effort to help people -- this week Trump removed all US funding from WHO (long ago it seems now they offered to send tests and were refused). Is there no tipping point? We don't ever seem to reach a tipping point; nothing Trump does brings him down. Now he is actually openly -- every one knows he is interfering with getting desperately needed medical supplies from democratic states and he did it to Canada (they did have to back off as the PM came on TV to declare this is unacceptable - it's an act of war) -- inflicting sickness and death on US people. And nothing is done. No powerful person stops him. It is the fault of the republican party which has decided he can do no wrong no matter what and no lie is too much for them to utter. They continually act in bad faith. They do know when to back off. They have to keep the military on their side and when they thought (these evil people who recognize one another) they could fire a captain for trying to protect his men against utterly senseless sickness and death, they backed off. The man who fired the captain has now resigned and there is talk of re-instating the captain. If there is a coup and no election and whatever is left of democracy or any social conscience is thrown out, Trump will have to have the military to back him so as to force people.

The republican party was once content to keep down the working class; now they downright attack them to make the 1% richer. They don't mind a sort of dictator careful to be on their side  A near majority of US citizens have to choose one of the worst men in public life. It is true that in the last 40 years people haven’t quite consistently voted in the basest way possible." Obama was an exception and  he won because huge numbers of black people came out and voted for him on the basis he is black. But they just rejected the one person offering them real hope beyond Warren  for a man whose record is racist and firmly against a medical health care system for all.

We on the left, many decent people are traumatized: for me it's that I cannot finally grasp that a man is at the head of this country with so much power, and comes on TV every night to display his malevolence, incompetence, lies continually; that anyone anywhere can read the newspapers and discover he is working to destroy the people of this country -- it's beyond obvious - and yet is in power and stays in power and may win the next election. That's what traumatizes me. I finally didn't believe this could happen here. Now all the people I know (to go back to the above paragraph) are sane, educated enough (many nowhere near well read but they understand and have information), but even the uneducated and narrow minded never seemed to me crazed. And this man there could take Izzy's job, cause money to collapse, wants to start a war (he has given up on that for now -- or seems to have, he has enough stealing PPE through his thugs on the transits of medicine).
If he were not so powerful, killing so many one could laugh at his spray-painted face, his tiny oval of a mouth (from spraying with some kind of skin tightener), his blimpish body and orange hair.

I cover four areas with my usual recommended articles and nowadays videos: 1st:  why we need to social distance and when we go back to economic and social life interacting with one another do it very slowly. 2nd.  The desperate need for a real bill to help people and small businesses. 3rd. The iissues surrounding a vaccine.  And 4th how the despair of people who have no paychecks is being used by right-wing groups.
Then a news-show bringing it all together.
And I end on a song I hope will cheer: New York New York, a Vimeo
This past week or so, Angela Merkel explained more clearly than anywhere I've seen what kinds of rates of infection one needs before you can see it's time to start opening businesses and allow people to socialize safely again.

It's this video with subtitles:
Germany has been successful: they have a solid health care system: it has not been starved of funds for years (the way the British UK has -- they are now working hard to make for this); they quarantined just in time, and now in certain cities some small businesses are beginning to open up for business. Meanwhile in the US hardly any testing has been done, some is beginning in the states, and the numbers of those infected and dead are soaring. This second video is about the laughable inadequacy of the bill to help people -- it bails out corporations who don't need the money (they can borrow on their collaterol), and offers $1200 once to the ordinary person under certain conditions; unemployment covers only 37% of the US population; as these people lose their jobs, they lose their insurance so if they get sick with coronavirus, and if they survive, they will be in debt for the rest of their lives:
Now Robert Rieich on the unnecessary coporate bailout:

Here is his view in a few short paragraphs:  the core of the piece:  It’s important that members of Congress and the administration understand that every dollar of taxpayer money must be used in one of three ways: helping provide income support for people during this emergency, providing health-care support if people need it, or getting critical supplies such as ventilators and masks to hospitals
In most European countries the salaries of working people are paid to 80% and small businesses are covered enough so when all is over or people go back, the store is stll there, and the job.

US "strategy" -- if they wanted to help workers, they could and would
On the hopes and problems surrounding a vaccine:

Dr Patricia Gilbert
Two clips from Andrew Marr: first a British woman scientist & then Gove who is standing in for Boris Johnson:
"The leader of a team working on a vaccine, Professor Sarah Gilbert, from Oxford University said scientists believed it was possible to become infected with Covid-19 more than once. She added that a vaccine-induced immunity could last longer than the infected-induced immunity." For Americans, it is soothing to listen to Gove -- if you keep on listening. The man is sane, polite, and reasonable. He shows a real concern for the health of all British people; while Trump behaves crazily, is castigatingly rude & doesn't care or would like huge numbers of US people to die (democrats non-whites). This week the NEJM reported that indeed the US federal gov't using some kind of military intervenes in sales of PPE to sales and wrests them away and then returns only a tiny portion. Why? Trump can't bear anyone to have any power for anything while he is in the dictator's position

You see health care workers in front of a hospital seeking to protect the hospital grounds from the
determined disruption of Trumpites: Here is a physician's statement about this: they are revealed
as anything but pro-life (meanwhile in Texas all abortions including medical banned as "non-esssential")
Last: now Trump and his regime are trying to push people back to work in order to save the present establishment's wealth. What these people fear is that the one place we can find money for all we need without gigantic deficits -- a wealth tax will emerge. So they are fomenting tiny demonstrations (representing about 20% of the US population) aimed at democratic governors; Trump's rhetoric urges (in effect) law-breaking and violence. The people come with guns. Some of these people are part of the desperate for whom $1200 is a joke. In many states there are lines and lines of cars of people seeking food from "food pantries. The menacing demonstrations are fomented and supported by right-wing groups.
They take time out to destroy all environmental regulations and ban all abortion as "non-essential." The powerful males hate, the vulnerable ones resent women more than ever -- it has seemed to me that this "#Metoo" movement as an active political force (not just women talking openly which is therapeutic but does not change the power relationships) has only helped women in upper class positions. It took huge efforts to put Weinstein in jail - -and they still did not get as part of the judgement the idea that it is not okay for a man to harass a woman sexually while on the job. Bloomberg and his partner made it explicit that this is just the way things are and is fine. The only explicit charges that stuck were about overt rape
********************************* for April 20, 2020: each of the stories put together adds up to an accurate picture of what happened and is happening just now, with some projection of the immediate future:

But our spirits are weary but we are not broken and we will come back: James Tober's New York, New York. This brought tears to my eyes. Just click
About 10 years now I stopped having chats with people in my local supermarket. What happened was the corporations who own a couple destroyed the one large powerful (ha!) union and then began to re-assign people to different supermarkets ruthlessly. So the people who I knew as sort of friends were gone. Since then a new atmosphere of most people in these supermarkets prevails. There are places where the same people have worked for years since then but not many  My young friend Monica has been at the Giant for some years now - by which I mean 5. It used to be 20 and up.  Divide and conquer.  Whatever companionship working in a supermarket once gave people is gone.
It is this kind of thing -- the lack of any job security and continual measures to break people that helps make the US such a socially sick society -- and leads to crazed Trumpites -- as well as the religiosity of US society. There are no pubs as family or community centers. It is just the church.  Why did blacks vote for Biden when his record is so abysmal.  They have a record of not voting for people whose record on race is abysmal. That's Hilary Clinton -- middle class woman with no bowels probably scared of black men as black.
Well yes they did not dare vote for Sanders lest he lose to Trump because middle class people won't share their still awful health care plans/insurance. Here's another explanation: they follow their church leaders because the church leaders are all they have to give them self-esteem and for help; that's fear too. It was church leaders who said vote for Biden.  Why? because like Mitch McConnell or Islamic fundamentalists & other religious sects/institutes in other societies who block as much secularism as they can, the black church leaders don't want to lose power over their congregations. They don't want black people to have someone or somewhere else to look for help and comfort and strength. Black people want to vote the way their church friends are voting. They then can belong somewhere.
How I'm experiencing sheltering in place: trying to keep in shape, reading, writing, movies, letters, zoom experiences -- I will be teaching online in June -- but I often feel like crying I am so distressed

Miss Drake

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