Ending Shelter-In-Place

I want to share an idea I had related to opening businesses, allowing people to return to work, and yet still keeping everyone safe from COVID-19. While I highly doubt I’m the only one who has thought of this since few ideas are “original,” I’m curious to know what my blog readers think.

Before you share your opinions, please know that I’m well aware there are those who would strongly resist my idea since they believe it would infringe on their “freedom.” But putting that aside, do you think such a plan would work? And would YOU be willing to follow it?

The most important requirement of this plan would be that EVERYONE … I mean, EVERYONE … would have to participate.

Ending the shelter in place

Until mass testing becomes available to identify who is or is not infected — or until a vaccine is available — we would ALL wear protective face masks.

NO EXCEPTIONS.

People could return to work, we could all go places, do things, and return to
semi-normal living. BUT we would have to wear a mask to protect both ourselves and others.

And these would not be “homemade” coverings. They would have to be masks that truly protect both parties — perhaps a type of N-95 mask that has been (quickly) designed by some innovative (i.e., money-oriented) company to be more comfortable for long periods of wear yet performs comparatively.

There would undoubtedly be resistance to such a requirement, so mask-wearing would need to be a government-mandated requirement, which means law enforcement may need to be involved.

As this action would allow people to return to work, all business establishments would be required to post messages to remind employees to thoroughly wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer throughout the day.

I know. I know. The idea is probably pretty far-fetched, but absent mass testing or a vaccine, we are all at risk each and every time we come in contact with the public.

Moreover, many people are suffering greatly from the “shelter-in-place” restrictions. Not only from loss of income, but from the emotional toll as well.

As many of you know, Trump is currently pushing (threatening?) to open everything up by May 1st. I don’t think I need to expand on the dangers of this action until some type of safety restrictions are in place.

***************************************
Image by Klaus Hausmann from Pixabay

Republican Philosophy

 

I’m going to depart just a bit from the emphasis on COVID-19 and bring to your attention something that my favorite newsletter writer (bet you can’t guess who) included in her most recent (4/2/20) report.

Part of Ms. Richardson’s focus in this issue was the distribution of healthcare supplies during the coronavirus crisis. In previous emergencies, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has been the recipient of needed supplies and they would then distribute to the states as needed. In order words, a coordinated federal system was in place.

In the current situation, however, supplies are going straight to the private sector, which results in states being forced into a bidding war to obtain the equipment they need. We’re now talking about a commercial supply chain, which means prices will invariably increase according to demand.

This resulted in Ms. Richardson’s observation:

[T]he White House is turning to private interests to manage the national response. It is a philosophical position embraced by those who would overturn the active government that has presided over the United States since the New Deal.

As she points out, this action (and others) demonstrates the Trump administration’s “desire to dismantle the federal government and give power to businesspeople.” In other words, the federal government should no longer assume responsibility for American citizens. Instead, Governors are to assume the responsibility of running their own states.

This Trump-preferred perspective has been especially clear during the current pandemic in that the Governors have been delegated to making their own calls related to stay-at-home orders for their state, as well as other decisions related to the safety of their constituents.

From my limited knowledge of “politics,” this seems to be the core of the Republican philosophy: a limited federal government with more power given to the states to be self determining. The general belief is that states are in a better position to be responsive to the needs of their people rather than the federal government.

Of course, the big problem in the current state of affairs is the above philosophy is NOT the one in practice — so the Trump administration actions have put the entire nation at risk.

However, going beyond the crisis, I’m interested in feedback on the philosophy supported by the Republican Party. In its perfect form (not as currently being practiced), what are the advantages and disadvantages? Further, what role would the government actually play in this scenario?

***************************
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Invincible?

This morning (3/29/20), as has become my habit, before looking at any other emails, I read Heather Cox Richardson’s most recent newsletter. I continue to be impressed by her ongoing wisdom and level-headed perception of current events.

In this particular issue, she wrote something that aroused my curiosity:

Key to Trump’s popularity has been a rhetorical strategy identified in 1951 by political philosopher Eric Hoffer in a book called The True Believer.

She then went on and compared some of Hoffer’s perspectives to the current POTUS. Since I had never heard of Eric Hoffer or his book, I decided to do some research.

Of course, the first place I looked was Amazon for a content description and to investigate cost (Kindle version $8.99; Free to Kindle Unlimited members; Hardcopy $169.14!). Unfortunately, the only write-up on Amazon was related to the author so I had to extend my search.

This led me to Google Play where I found a “free sample” and copied the following from the Preface.

All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them allegiance.

Many of us have wondered how and why so many people continue to cling to and defend Trump, no matter what he says or does. Heather put it all together when she wrote:

Trump has mastered this technique. He has kept his base firmly behind him by demonizing immigrants, the media, and, increasingly, Democrats, deflecting his own shortcomings in office by blaming these groups for undermining him.

She references Hoffer and further writes:

[S]o long as they are unified against an enemy, true believers will support their leader no matter how outrageous his behavior gets. Indeed, their loyalty will only get stronger as his behavior gets more and more extreme.

However, as many of us have noticed, cracks are beginning to appear. The coronavirus crisis is making it harder and harder for Trump to maintain his hold on his devoted followers.

Nevertheless, he will continue to play the game. No matter who it hurts because for him, it’s all about winning. Staying on top. And most of all, being idolized as the “only one” who can MAGA.

Yet, for all his bluster, there is one thing Trump cannot ignore. COVID-19 has loyalty to no one. Insults, threats, and blustering will not change its course. And as has been shown thus far, it is no respecter of persons.

Although the invincibility of Trump has astounded many of us on (too) many occasions, perhaps in this instance he has met his match. Only time– and the coronavirus–will tell.

******************************
Image courtesy of Mark Grayson Invincible Image Comics

Part Two: The Lockdown

As I addressed in Part One, many people in the U.S. took heed of the precautions that were issued at the beginning of the coronavirus spread and obeyed the social distancing pleas. They stocked up on food and supplies and settled into somewhat of a routine within their households to get through the forced seclusion.

Now let’s imagine that the pandemic has gotten so bad that it’s become necessary for authorities to step in to ensure residents obey the movement restrictions. What happens now to the people who ignored the warnings? Who believed that it was all a Democratic hoax? Who were convinced they were invincible? Who believed their god would keep them safe?

And especially … who made no efforts to plan for the worst?

Someone once said, “Never underestimate desperate people. You never know how far they will go to get what they want.

I’m not going to go into detail as to the events that could potentially take place if this pandemic continues except to reference the above quote … and to repeat something I wrote in Part One: “Gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed.”

I’ll let you put two and two together.

At this moment in time … in the day and hour that I’m writing this … COVID-19 is rapidly spreading and the number of deaths are increasing daily. If the health professionals are correct (and there is little reason to doubt them), it’s going to get worse.

Never underestimate the driving force to stay alive
that exists in every human being.

Trump and the Developing Coronavirus Crisis

As a regular reader of The Secular Jurist blog, I’ve found that Robert Vella frequently publishes some very informative posts related to current events and happenings.

As a general rule, Robert begins his posts with some personal commentary, then includes links to several news sources (including brief excerpts) that support his outlook.

I felt his most recent post — “Trump’s Pandemic Failure: First he denied it, then he tried to steal the headlines, now he’s covering it up” was too good not to share. In it, Robert discusses several events taking place in Italy and So. Korea related to the coronavirus pandemic, and also offers some observations on President Trump’s recent speeches and actions (or non-actions) within the U.S.

Feel free to offer your comments on whether you agree or disagree with Robert’s reflections. (A link to the actual post is provided at the end of the commentary.)

On January 20th to 21st 2020, the first reported COVID-19 cases were reported in South Korea and the United States respectively – virtually, on the same day.  Because of its proximity to China, the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea progressed much more rapidly.  However, the democratic government of that Asian nation took an aggressive response to combat the pandemic including massive testing and quarantines to stop the spread of the disease (see:  One chart shows how South Korea got its coronavirus outbreak under control in less than a month).  In the U.S., the Trump administration denied the impending crisis calling it a conspiratorial “hoax” and describing the new virus as nothing more than a seasonal flu.

As the reality of the pandemic became undeniable by late February in the U.S., President Trump was forced into a different strategy.  He appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead his administration’s response, and soon after began holding daily press conferences where he could steal the news headlines by announcing optimistic breakthroughs and bold proposals.  It sounded reassuring, but Trump’s pronouncements were filled with numerous inaccuracies, outright falsehoods, and promises which could never be fulfilled in the near future.

Just as events overtook his denial early on, events are now overtaking his media strategy.  The developing crisis in the U.S. has become so acute that Trump is returning to tactics he used during the Mueller investigation and impeachment proceedings – that is, to withhold as much information as possible from Congressional oversight and from the American people in order to conceal his administration’s egregious failure on coronavirus ahead of the 2020 election.

For comparison, South Korea currently has 8,652 COVID-19 cases in which 100 people have died, but the rate of new infections is steadily declining.  Its government was able to “flatten the curve” which lessened the pandemic’s impact and prevented its healthcare system from being catastrophically overwhelmed.  In contrast, the U.S. currently has 16,607 cases and 219 deaths, but the rate of new infections is skyrocketing.  The U.S. curve looks identical to that of Italy‘s two weeks ago whose healthcare system is now being dangerously overwhelmed by sick and dying people.  It should be noted that the failure in Italy resulted from similar government inaction even though it has a highly rated (by the WHO) healthcare system.

The following stories help illustrate how big Trump’s failure on this pandemic really is.  They also factually refute his recent assertions that the coronavirus “caught everyone by surprise” and that his administration is doing “everything it can” to remedy the situation.  To put it more bluntly, Trump is blatantly lying to the American people;  and, that should surprise no one.

For the supporting news articles, please click this link, which will take you directly to Robert’s post.

********************************
Image by Vektor Kunst from Pixabay