Weary Pilgrim – Coronavirus Vol I
It’s been a while…..without ado, some thoughts:
This is like watching a hurricane inch up the coast, knowing it's never going out to sea. This is the Pre-Game…..the odds are stacked, in that the World will win, and the Virus will lose, but what’s the spread?
I get the feeling we can only shake hands after each of us has survived the virus.....can that actually be? And I’m getting used to the sadness you feel when you assume that 'social distance' and grin awkwardly at your friends….
It’s fascinating watching Trump try to learn how to be the President…he’s had a free ride so far, and now he has to defer to scientists, a group he has never really trusted…. I would have loved to have been there when an advisor first told Trump he was now a 'wartime president'.....at that moment he could see this as beneficial to his ego and legacy...that was the moment he did a 180 and basically embraced the epidemic.
Anthony Fauci is enough to restore your faith in the federal government. He’s a lock for Time Magazine’s Man of the Year....somehow he has done what no one else ever has: disagreed with Trump publicly but retained Trump’s respect, and more importantly, not been fired.
In the last few days I have read editorials in both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that echo an emerging new attitude toward the pandemic: the Surgical Strike Attitude – simply put, this is deciding to fight the virus only in the age group or health group that is most susceptible to it, mainly those over 60. The theory is that, over time, the economic damage to the country will outweigh the need to protect those who probably won’t be harmed much by contracting the virus. In other words, let everyone under 60 go back to work and engage in public activities again, providing a sense of normalcy to most of America. As we become exhausted by the practice of Social Distancing, this will become more attractive….the medical community will not allow this as they are overwhelmed now and about to be even more overwhelmed….any further pressure is intolerable, and more young people will get sicker if we lift restrictions.
But when the time comes that the numbers of infections daily reverse direction and start to inch down, this desire to return to normality will prevail, and those more likely to survive the virus will peel off from the strict formation of social distancing, the more to stimulate the economy, repair the social fabric, and just plain make us feel better….for those of us over 60 who have not yet contracted the virus – well, we will have to bide our time.
Meanwhile, the president is responding to the crisis by doing what he has always done: he is borrowing vast sums of money he has no intention of paying back – BUT: this time he is right – that’s what the deficit is for – extraordinary times for extraordinary measures….the nation got used to using the deficit to bloat the federal budget. Here we are with a real need, and once again we are dumping the burden of this on future generations…..I only hope that the money is well spent – this will not go away soon, and we can’t borrow forever.
David Brooks reminds us of the attitude of Americans after the 1918 Flu – they were embarrassed, because we didn’t do so well…You know what? I think that’s because we couldn’t talk to each other….but this is the age of Social Media. We now have the means and power to rise above it all: we can support each other ….this is a scourge that does not recognize class or wealth…..it recognizes mortality……we can act such that we look backwards and are proud. We can look back and think, “We did well…..we helped each other - we rose above it.”
Stay safe. Hugs are out for the time being. Smiles and laughter are still allowed.