OK, nearly three months into this pandemic thing, I have to confess, President Donald Trump and the talking heads at Fox News are right. Turn the country back on.
I admit. My first thoughts about the dangers of the pandemic turned immediately, and foolishly, to millions of older, sicker Americans who could become gravely and mortally ill from the novel coronavirus.
Not being asleep at the wheel when this whole thing came on the world scene just after Christmas, I saw how quickly medical infrastructure could be overwhelmed by so many people becoming so seriously ill all at the same time. I was agape watching the Chinese build instant, massive “hospitals,” like a scene out of nuclear holocaust movie.
I repeatedly watched video of now-dead hero-doc Li Wenliang, who tried in vain to sound the alarm early in Wuhan Province. He was punished for his insight and courage. Killed by the virus, he died fighting for the cause.
It was too much for me when Trump kept pooh-poohing the danger of the virus, calling it a “flu.” I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was a stupid, stupid man who’s done endless stupid, stupid things doing what will probably end up being his crowning achievement of stupidity.
Boy was I wrong.
Set aside all of his recent lies about ventilators, miracle drugs, hand-shaking, having this thing “totally under control,” and all the wilted word salad he and his White House comrades dish out. Disregard the horrific falsehoods and anti-science nonsense that talking heads at Fox News have been projectile vomiting at their viewers for weeks.
Trump profoundly vanquished up my foolish assessment of the situation over the weekend.
“The cure can’t be worse than the problem,” Trump brilliantly surmised. “This country was not designed to be closed.”
Trump, embodying the very stable genius, pointed out that we can’t sacrifice millions of jobs just because hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people could get sick for a few weeks and a few hundred thousand, or many, will die.
Sure lives will be permanently lost or irrevocably changed by illness, but these lost wages and profits could take years to reclaim. Years.
What’s the point of that?
The vast majority of people in the country are pretty certain they’d survive COVID-19, and, hey, it’s a democracy. It’s not like it’s Trump’s fault a bunch of Americans got old or diabetes.
So I agree with Trump and a handful of Republican governors across the country who scoff at the danger of the virus and the wisdom of closing down places where the public mingle with the disease. Sure, give it a week. Count some more dead. Have a national cake walk for ventilators and N-95 masks to keep the hysterical medical workers from losing their minds, and then let’s move on.
Like Trump, I’m not saying we turn all heartless and greedy, immediately focusing on jobs, ratings and his re-election. We can take a moment here.
“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” Trump said Saturday during his daily reality show on the pandemic. “There will be death.”
Let’s all take a moment to be somber about the quarter-million or so who will die if we keep the country closed for several more weeks or months. And another moment of holding sad faces to lament the possible millions of Americans who will get sick or perish if we end all this “closed” nonsense.
So. Who wants to be the first to charge out to a baseball game next week? How fabulous will it be if Trump throws out the first pitch to a packed Coors Stadium here in Denver with tens of thousands of tragically deprived fans fulfilling all they’ve been hand-wringing over for weeks?
No? Nervous about thousands of people packed in tight around you, simultaneously exhaling the virus that Trump is damned sure he could survive, and you could, too?
Surely you don’t think you might be one of those 20-something, 30-something, 40-something warriors who get the virus really, really bad, gasping for breath and wracked with fever. Have faith that you won’t be one of the unlucky ones who gets lung scarring or permanent heart damage from a virus we know very little about at this point.
Really, whom do you trust? Trump or science?
Trump’s right. Roll the dice. Shake a stranger’s hand and load up at Hobby Lobby on all the crafty crafts that red-blooded Americans should never be deprived of.
Sure, the hospitals in urban areas along Colorado front range cities will be crushed with sick, scared people worried about whether their coughing, their fever or their inability to catch their breath are about to end their lives. But life is about making hard choices. If we want to make sure there’s plenty of room at hospitals for delivering babies, treating cancer, mending hips and backs, then we’re just going to have to force COVID-19 victims to suck it up at home.
Even Trump would be able to understand the danger of having doctors and nurses infected and sick with the virus removing a gallstone.
It’s a hard choice, but allowing people sickened by the virus to flood hospitals makes for bad optics, bad economics and would probably scare people so badly they would finally quit skirting stay-at-home orders and stay home of their own volition. Can’t have that and a bustling economy.
No, for the next few months, if you get anything that involves a fever, no hospital admission for you. Too dangerous. Best of all, this would once and for all end the televised, morale-busting scavenger hunt for ventilators.
I get it now. We really do have a choice here as a nation, as long as we’re willing to just deal with the fact that opening the nation up for business now, and getting out there in full force, will mean killing a lot of people, but it means saving a lot of jobs, at least in the short term.
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