120,000 Deaths Too Many

120,000 Deaths Too Many

More than 117,000 Americans had died of COVID-19 by mid-June. If our response had been as effective as Germany’s, estimates show that we would have had only 36,000 COVID-19 deaths in that period in the United States. If our response had been as effective as South Korea, Australia, or Singapore’s, fewer than 2,000 Americans would have died. We could have prevented 99% of those COVID-19 deaths. But we didn’t.

Letter from 1,000 Public Health Professionals to America’s Decision Makers

This powerful letter from 1,000 experts should be read by every US citizen. Unfortunately, it was picked up by relatively few news outlets, and it’s not even that easy to find through Googling it.

These professionals see what Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are desperately trying to ignore: the effort to fight COVID-19 has been an utter failure, and we need a reset. What should we do during the reset period?

The letter recommends that non-essential businesses be closed; people should stay at home, except for groceries, medical visits, and exercise; and masks should be mandatory whenever personal interaction outside the immediate family occurs. It also recommends that all interstate travel be suspended.

Finally, it tells American political leaders to tell the truth, to lead by example, to marshal the resources to ramp up testing, build an infrastructure of tracing, and provide a safety net for those in need.

The complete letter is here.

Will Trump and his Republican lapdogs listen to this or follow any of their recommendations? Of course not.

Instead, he diverted attention from his failure with tweets appealing to the most fascistic and racist elements of society. The use of the word “fascistic” in relation to his proposal to delay the November election didn’t come from me; it came from none other than the co-founder of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society:

But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.

Steven Calabrisi, co-founder of Federalist Society

The second diversion demonstrated that our erstwhile president doesn’t care about dog whistling anymore; he’s trumpeting his racism to the world:

This will have special appeal to all the white racists who dominate suburban NextDoor.com feeds, people like the ones who removed me from NextDoor for criticizing their Dear Leader in a private group.

I know a few of you will be asking, “What in the world does this have to do with COVID?”

My answer is that we cannot separate the abysmal response to COVID from the attempts to divert our attention away from that. They are all part of the same “plan.” I put that in quotes because few people believe Trump actually has a strategy; he just flails about like a toddler in distress.

He will try anything, including the total destruction of democracy in America, to avoid taking responsibility for the first critical challenge he faced that required steady, mature leadership.

After updating all the data this morning, one look at the Zorgi Score chart showed the extent of the problem:

In particular take note of then decrease in case doubling days, down to 41 days now. If things don’t change, that means we could have over 8 million cases by the middle of August.

Also take note of the fatality figures: almost 155,000 deaths, and daily fatalities over the past month have increased by 38%, from 853 per day to 1,175 per day today.

This worsening situation is reflected in all seven states I follow;

In Arizona, thankfully, daily case counts are starting to level off, dropping from a high of close to 3,500 per day to just over 3,000 now. The trouble is, the daily fatality count has doubled, from less than 40 per day a month ago to 80 a day now. The positivity rate is an alarmingly high 22%, not even close to where it should be.

In California, fatalities have almost doubled, from just ove 60 a month ago, to over 120 per day today. The positivity rate has stayed much the same, at around 7.0%, still too high, but much better than Arizona’s rate. Case counts have gone from just over 6,000 per day to over 8,500 per day, although they appear to be leveling off.

Florida is a real mess. Fatalities have almost quadrupled, from 38 per day one month ago, to 154 per day now. Daily cases have gone from just over 5,000 per day to 8,500 now. The positivity rate is almost 20%. Put another way, that means in Florida you only need to test 5 people to find one positive. That rate is getting close to Brazil’s.

Georgia isn’t in quite as bad a shape, with daily cases going from around 7,000 to 10,000, and positivity rates leveling off at a very high 12.6%. Daily fatalities, however, have increased almost fourfold, from 12 to 44 a day. Daily hospitalizations have gone up significantly as well, from just over 1,200 a day to just over 3,100 today.

Finally, there’s Texas, where we find the biggest jump in fatalities of all, from just over 30 per day to 250 a day now. This, even though their daily case count hasn’t gone up by that much, and their positivity rate has actually declined a couple of percentage points, down to 11.5%.

OK, if we drill down further, is there any good news? Sorry, not really. Perhaps the only bright spot is that LA County has dropped to 8.0.

Since the federal government won’t do the right thing, and millions of Americans won’t do the right thing by wearing masks, what can be done between now and January 20, 2021?

Personally, I think the cities, counties, and states that truly care about the health of their citizenry have to start enforcing the public health regulations. That means stiff fines for businesses that openly flout the regulations. If they do it a second time, take away their business license for a month. Third time, take it away permanently.

That means heavy fines for religious “leaders” who continue to hold indoor services for hundreds of people at a time. Fine them $50 for each person the first time, $100 per person the second time, and $1,000 per person the third time.

That means making it clear to retail establishments that follow the mask rules that they have the power to forcibly remove anti-maskers who threaten and/or attack their employees. It means people like that can be fined and charged.

Obviously, I’m not a lawmaker. But the main point is this: the businesses, religious “leaders” and anti-maskers who threaten our health and our lives have to deal with the consequences of their actions. It can’t continue to be the sole burden of health care workers and the rest of the citizens who are doing their part to contain the pandemic.

These people are no longer amusing with their ignorance. They are dangerous. The threat to our well-being doesn’t come from peaceful protesters in Portland; it comes from people who think it’s just fine to make us sick in order to drive home their political points.

Have a safe and healthy weekend, everyone!

One comment on “120,000 Deaths Too Many”

  1. In the European Union, it was a total shut down, not a stay at home order here in the US where 40% of the workforce were at the place of work. Hospitals, medical office, food and other essentials such as Home Depot and Walmart continued operations.

    Much of the staff and employees were low wage individuals, aside from doctors and nurses. Low income individuals live in substandard housing and can not isolate due to a lack of space and need to work and draw an income.

    In the US there is there no way near the consensus for a reset and shut down. Recently bars in TX reopened in defiance of the Governor. No penalties. Why, Governor is unpopular just for the late stay at home and early reopening the economy.

    The attitude that has evolved is that we have to live with this. Well, that ignores the fact that if this continues the health care system may collapse.

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