Getting Ahead of Themselves

As pressure builds to “reopen” America, it should be noted that if you remove the New York metropolitan area (which includes northern New Jersey) from the statistics, the number of Covid-19 cases is increasing. The New York metro area has been hit the hardest and is now showing improvement. But the situation is getting worse elsewhere, including states where Republican politicians are eager to move past all this unpleasantness.

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Here are the trend lines for four states with right-wing governors in thrall to Dear Leader:

ArizonaMissNebraskaTexas

From Andy Slavitt, former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid:

Like many countries, we picked a strategy to beat COVID-19. We just decided not to stick to it. Itโ€™s a long and difficult road, and after we climbed halfway we decided it was too hard and chose to roll back down the hill.

There is, however, a plan to slowly and steadily bring the economy back, but only by solving the public health crisis. It was put forward by [the] White House all of three weeks ago. It had gates and stages, and hinged on conditions on the ground. But none of the conditions have been met.

Rather than wait, [the Toddler] grew impatient. He wants life to go back to the way it was before the pandemic. He wants the economy growing. [He wants to be re-elected, not judged a “loser”!]

Our expectations are simple. The truth, no matter how hard. To know that our safety matters. A plan which uses all our tools and best thinking that we stick with. Candor in discussing the tough trade offs.

Weโ€™re not getting that.

Instead, in Slavitt’s words, we’ll get:

… a food fight between the hardened realists who can tolerate death to โ€œget our country backโ€, and the โ€œpublic health mafia who are willing to kill the economy for the sake of a few people who will die soon anyway.โ€ And if those people say that the death toll is going to be big, theyโ€™re just alarmists.

Many in the news media will present this as one more political controversy requiring balance between “both sides”. Dana Milbank of The Washintgon Post sees it as something else:

This is state-sanctioned killing. It is a conscious decision to acceptย 2,000 preventable deathsย every day, because our leaders believe the victims [will be] poor schlubs who work in meat-processing plants… It is deliberately sacrificing the old, factory workers, and black and Hispanic Americans, who are dying at higher rates….

All we can do is pray for a vaccine breakthrough and hope summer weather helps. Thatโ€™s because our president abandoned the fight. [He] can lie all he likes about the adequacy of testing and supplies, and blame his predecessor, his opponents and the media for his incompetence. It [won’t] matter to the virus.

Finally, some not exactly optimism from Tom Tomorow:

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