By Larry Levine –
Donald Trump’s message to Americans: you want ventilators? You want masks? You want tests? You want protective clothing and gear for hospital workers? YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN.
A federal government that should be ground zero for combating the coronavirus, that should be amassing the necessary ventilators, masks, etc. to distribute as needed to states across the land has become a fount of empty promises and self-congratulatory boasts about accomplishments that haven’t been.
So, yes, we’re on our own.
In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the medical community are scrounging to find the supplies and hospital beds to meet the growing crisis.
In Los Angeles, a private Korean-American citizen uses her influence to help local officials acquire 20,000 coronavirus test kits from South Korea. But the hospital ship Trump promised a few days ago, that is nowhere close to happening.
At the same time, while more states adopt mandates and advisories for people to shelter-in-place and maintain social separation while out in public, Trump indicates he’s thinking of lifting those same restrictions because “we can’t let the cure become worse than the disease.”
Um. The cure is worse than death? The disease can and will end in death thousands of times over if Trump doesn’t get off the stage and let the medical community do it’s job. Instead, he has become the master of ceremonies at a daily Praise Donald Show dressed up to look like a briefing.
Already, we’ve seen one of Trump’s teased-at cures – a drug effective against malaria but immediately disavowed by his own head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – lead to the death of a man who believed Trump and in fear ingested something intended to clean fish tanks.
It’s difficult to write about the current situation. It’s a moving target.
We go out for a drive on a warm, sunny day thinking we can stay isolated from people. Then we get rear ended on the Pacific Coast Highway and sheriffs’ deputies and paramedics show up with no gloves or facial barriers and act as though social separation doesn’t matter. Now, we have two weeks of anxiety, when all we wanted was some fresh air and sun.
We hear our Mayor talk of closing beach parking lots because people are ignoring shelter-in-place directives. Then we see our President tweeting about restarting the economy by backing away from shelter-in-place. And with him center stage at the daily briefings, those around him laud his great leadership while the doctor who criticized him vanish from the next briefing.
If ever there was a time to hang onto the advice of the Serenity Prayer – accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and know the difference between the two – now would be that time. What we can control is that we follow the advice of the medical world no matter what Trump says. If he tells us he’s lifting or modifying the shelter-in-place directive, it’s up to use to ignore him and stay home for our own protection and the protection of others. If he tells us he’s restarting the economy, it’s up to us to say “not with my life, you’re not.” Sure there are those who will take his words as a license to behave as if there is no virus, no risk. To them, I offer a copy of Darwin’s Survival of the Species. As for the rest of us, we are left to hope our governors and mayors have the courage and wisdom to ignore the rain of foolishness that spews forth from the fool-in-charge and take what steps are needed. After all, we are on our own.