Thursday, April 16, 2020

Where we're going

We'll be like this forever. There are not enough tests -- and there are questions about the tests' accuracy, with patients believed to be recovered in multiple countries testing negative and then positive again. There are not enough testing sites. The Times reports that there are also not enough personnel to process the tests. Not enough chemicals. Not enough lab space, not enough scientists. It's like the resources for seriously ill patients; doctors, nurses, PAs, masks, hospital beds, ventilators, the meds you need ... so many elements, a shortage of any one of them affecting everything else in the supply chain, almost like a shortage of all of them, and then when supplies of that resource are adequate again, a shortage of something else.

A shortage of good governance and administration at the federal level. Congressional action that's also inadequate, one party too stuck trying to preserve what was the status quo, with old ways of thinking focused too much on business, not enough on people; the other party trying to profit from pandemic (and succeeding). A figurehead ... enough about him, except to say that he's going to 'reopen the economy' in the next two weeks. People will return to work, to bars and restaurants, to subways, to movie theaters, months and months too soon, with no vaccine available until 2021, likely at best. Hell, some cities and states are still refusing to 'close the economy' now, for the first time. He'll 'reopen the economy,' and then the numbers ...

Ok, listen: The numbers have not fallen. This whole thing has been story after story about how this country or that city had its number of daily deaths fall for the second straight day, like that's an adequate sample size. So desperate to prematurely declare the whole thing over, the way President Dummy keeps thinking he can fix the economy, like that too won't drag into 2021. But if you put all your stock into 'flattening the curve,' the way we're apparently supposed to, like it's not just the next step but the beginning of the end or whatever, like it's not wayyyy more important to death totals from overcrowded hospitals than it is to the end of the spread of the thing ... like we can just ignore how many never get tested, never mind how many deaths aren't counted yet for the same reason ... he'll reopen the economy, and then the numbers will look materially identical to the wave we've had, at least in states that follow his lead, and they'll need to shut down again. And maybe *then* we can elect Biden, who even my 14-year-old knew to call 'the lesser of two evils,' thanks to my brainwashing him, but who'll do better at listening to healthcare experts, at least. And most governors will ignore the lamest of ducks in history, and we can all hunker down to wait for a vaccine, which probably sounds reassuring if you ignore that even the flu vaccine, which we've had in one form or another for 75 years, has something like a 30% to 60% effectiveness rate from year to year. We won't really be like this *literally* forever. We'll be forced out into the dangerous world like babies who could die within weeks. But we should.

Doomsaying. This reads like doomsaying, right? Even I see it. Predicting the worst, the worst possible outcome short of 100 million-plus deaths worldwide, over the course of the thing. Better cheerleading. Better caution. Better we stay positive. Better we keep our heads in the sand and ignore the thing entirely, some people think. Better at least cautiously optimistic. Better you go somewhere else for that. Seemingly literally anywhere else; they sell it everywhere. Better, I think, we see it for what it is and for what it's most likely to be, accept it, find a way to live with it. Not good, maybe, but better.

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