When I walk on Main Street and see the sign for the Queens Networking event that was held on February 19, it reminds me how much has changed in such a short time. New York has been in a lockdown for over a month. There are other places that have been in the situation even longer. In the last four weeks, approximately 21 million people applied for unemployment. Schools are closed. People are cooped up in their homes. One would have expected that there would be a big backlash against the governor’s stay at home orders. Yet the opposite is true. According to AP-NORC poll, 80% support them. When was the last time we got 80% of Americans to agree on anything important? Some states including Georgia have started opening up. There has been such a strong negative reaction that even the president had to change his tune and he criticized Georgia.
The president, among others, has engaged in what some refer to as happy talk: first minimizing the extent of the virus, giving unrealistic dates as to when it will be done such as in April, and touting miracle cures or claiming that a vaccine will be discovered soon. Each one has been shot down, resulting in the president’s decision that it is better for him not to be present at the daily coronavirus briefings.
This has been one of the most polarized Congress, with the House of Representatives having a Democratic majority and the Senate with a Republican majority. Yet it took only a few days for them to come together and pass extensive legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a comment attacking states, demanding that they should not receive any additional aid for expenses due to the coronavirus. It appears that he was referencing states with Democratic governors. He was attacked not only by Democrats but also by Republicans, with comparisons to Marie Antoinette, who famously reported to have said, “Let them eat cake.”
The media deserves a lot of credit. You can have all the experts in the world, but if people do not hear it, it does not matter. Also, the media did its best to make sure that people heard real science and not spin or pseudo-science. It was not only government experts such as Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, but the networks had their own experts who also would explain the medical situation.
Furthermore, the media described in detail the conditions in hospitals, which may have scared some people, but served its purpose in getting people to abide by the stay at home orders. It helped force politicians, especially the federal government, to provide them with the necessary medical supplies.
They have not let up and are explaining the importance and necessity of testing and tracing. Also, the media has helped prepare the country for the possibility of a longer-than-expected shut down or a reoccurrence of the virus in the fall/winter.
I have read that some people are upset about the negativity. The president tried the happy talk. If people believe that the coronavirus is not so bad, they will not change their routine or accept the restrictions. Sometimes people have be told the truth without any sugar coating. People are more likely to be respectful when you do not insult their intelligence.
Moreover, not every story is negative. There have been many positive stories about those who have risked their lives to help others. There are some stories about those who were able to beat the virus. For example, I read a story about the 750th coronavirus patient to leave a specific hospital. There are stories about those who daily cheer hospital workers or provide them with food.
Finally, my Trump quote of the week. This week Mitch McConnell deserves special mention for his comment so I will also include him.
Trump’s widely reported comment during a press conference was “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and does a tremendous number on them, so it’d be interesting to check that.” The look on Dr. Birx’s face when he said it was classic.
Likewise, Senator McConnell also was criticized for his comment that “I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route.” There is no law that allows states to declare bankruptcy.
Keep healthy and safe.