So Trump Wants To Re-Open The United States For Business
First, he’ll have to stop obsessing on the election and get over the hump.
“We must reopen the country for business!”, is the clarion call of the President of the United States. I follow Donald Trump on Twitter and I must say, he’s like a dog with the leash in his mouth. He’d really like to get out for a walk, and he wants us to take him to the park.
But we’re not even close to being ready to open for business. The press reports a great deal of discomfort about opening up our schools, churches, shops, theaters, restaurants, and our hotels. Oh, hotels. You mean like, “Trump Hotel”? I wonder if Trump doesn’t harbor a conflict of interest or two.
Trump may want to go out shopping with his wife (maybe not), but it’s clear to everyone else that he’s not done his homework. Not even close. He spent six weeks in January and February downplaying the oncoming pandemic. The Guardian has documented those six weeks of the negligence of the president with all of his unpleasant details. They show that the Trump Administration and the government of South Korea had two entirely different attitudes in their response to the virus.
While Trump was golfing, vacillating, and not taking the data seriously, the South Korean government was marshaling every available resource to deal with the coronavirus. The South Korean government gathered the best minds from government, business, and schools to create a test within 2 weeks of their first confirmed case and they got really busy testing people for the coronavirus. Once tested as positive, those people were isolated until the virus was cleared. Here is a chart to demonstrate the results of their work:
Notice that the “hump”, the point at which the South Koreans saw the peak of active cases, occurred nearly two months ago. South Korea is a country of 50 million people. Yes, they are a smaller country, but they also have fewer resources than the United States. And as The Guardian notes, the United States and South Korea both had their first confirmed case on January 20th. Now see the same chart, but for the United States:
Such is the state of the union. Notice the trajectory for active cases in America. Still going up, up and away. At 855,000 active cases, we’re not even close to the hump, the apex, the peak, or whatever you want to call it. We’re not ready to reopen just yet. And numerous state governors have already expressed concern that Trump is jumping the gun. Trump’s insistence on opening the country for business just now, could cause a second wave of infections. South Korea took COVID-19 seriously because they cared about their people. The United States of Trump seems to be more concerned with money.
Scientists are still not even sure how the virus is killing us or the source of the virus (they think it might have come from bats in China). We have no vaccine, no cures, and no drugs to ease the suffering of the patients now in hospitals with the COVID-19 disease. The best solution at hand is isolation, or sheltering in place, and wait.
I’ve been sheltering in place since about March 11th. I have no plans to change my behavior until I see that we have a vaccine and pharmaceutical remedies to alter the course of the virus in our bodies. I’m also looking for mutations in the virus to reduce it from deadly to just sickly, or maybe just really uncomfortable. This is the natural course of viruses. The most successful virus, the Rhinovirus that causes the common cold, doesn’t kill its hosts. Eventually, this coronavirus, one of many, will evolve to the point where it doesn’t kill us.
And then maybe, we can have a conversation about opening the United States for business.
But until then, I will keep in mind that the President of the United States put the economy before the people. He put the election before the people. To the extent that South Korea was able to put down the virus in their country, is the extent to which their government showed that they put people first.
For those who insist the president is doing such a great job, I offer the following graphic for your review:
In the above graphic, we see that as of today, the United States had 184 deaths per million people. We also see that South Korea had 4.8 deaths per million people. See the difference? I’d call that “empathy”.
The president spent 6 weeks acting indecisively. He spent about the same amount of time downplaying the virus until it became a pandemic. Worse, the president became a billionaire in an economy that moved much of the know-how required to make masks, ventilators, and PPE offshore. Considering how our economy is structured, it should come as no surprise that South Korea figured this out before we did. They came up with an accurate test for the virus within two weeks of their first case. We didn’t. We’re still looking.
This is what I will be thinking about in November.