Today, at a press conference, President Trump wore a mask and apologized to the American people for his lack of leadership during the Covid-19 crisis. With nearly 160,000 American deaths he expressed sympathy to their families and vowed to do all he can to stem the tide. Accordingly, he outlined a national plan that will provide the resources and guidelines for states to follow to address the crisis. This plan will follow the guidelines of his public health experts, like Dr. Fauci, who he called a Great American. The plan includes using the federal defense production act to ramp up production of on-site testing that would yield results in minutes as opposed to days which is now the reality. He also called upon congress to pass legislation to extend federal cash benefits to the growing number of unemployed in America. Finally, while he hoped that operation warp speed would yield a vaccine sooner than later, he admitted that it might be months, if ever, when a viable, safe, effective vaccine would be available. Overall, he is very sorry.
No, he’s not. Of course, the above scenario is fiction. The reality is he continues to downplay the impact of the virus and contends that his administration has it well under control, even as it is getting out of control in many parts of the country. Instead of developing a national plan, he has deferred to the states, leaving each governor to scramble for resources and to develop their own plan. Therefore, we have 50 different plans, with some governors locking down their states, while others open up for business and hope for the best. What we are seeing now is those states that opened up too soon are now experiencing a surge, and some are trying to reel it back in. Good luck with that. Covid-19 doesn’t respect boundaries, particularly state boundaries in a country where people are free to move between state borders at will.
This week bikers from across the country will congregate in Sturgis, South Dakota, for their annual bacchanalia. Will they wear masks and socially distance? Are you kidding? They will congregate, get infected, and bring the virus back home to whatever state they came from. Some governors and mayors will try to say that people from other states that are currently hot spots should quarantine themselves before coming to their jurisdiction. Good luck with that.
The debate rages about opening schools in the fall. Some are proposing a hybrid model, where students would come on site a couple of days a week, then go home to work on-line while their parents supervise them. Some say this is the worst of both worlds, where kids will be exposed on-site, and parents will still have to stay home to supervise. Some districts will continue to do completely virtual learning as many teachers don’t want to go back into the classroom. Of course, this presumes that kids have access to the internet and appropriate computers to access the program. What about low income families, or those in areas without access to high speed internet? There are no easy answers. Good luck with that.
Reality check: The problem will get worse, but hopefully get better—someday. But until most Americans follow public health guidelines by wearing masks, washing hands, etc., the virus will continue to ping pong between cities and rural communities, between red and blue states, and all throughout the United States. In the meantime, I hope you all in Sturgis have fun. Varoom!